12 October 2006

Just One More Porcini or Two

Ok, Ok, Ok, perhaps I'm just a little caught up in the mushroom madness myself. It must be from the sleep deprivation of all the cars rushing up before the crack of dawn and trying not to count them every morning. Perhaps it's the fact that Fabrizio's parents life is completely rearranged by the hunt at the moment as well. Normally, they have lunch at precisely noon, or half past at the latest, if there is too much to get done in the garden or some such errand in town that takes a bit longer. Dinner is a 7 pm unless it's hunting day out with the boys, but usually you can set your watch by their mealtimes.

Now it's lunch at about 11am so they can be out when the morning hunters and gatherers are off to lunch with their booty, leaving the woods peaceful and still full of the fabled porcini for those privy to 40 years of hunting for them in their backyard, to fill a freezer, line shelves of jars of mushrooms in vinegar and dried ones as well. Then, of course, there are the ones they sell off to the local vendors. It's quite a sight at the the local buyers shop with people coming from all over our hills with baskets lined with beech leaves and covered with fern fronds to keep the curious from knowing exactly what you found and more importantly, where. It's an impressive sight and everyone is busy sorting and grading and paying for the mushrooms that come in that day from 8 am till 10 pm when father and son take off in their trucks to deliver the goods to all parts of Italy, all night, while Mom holds down the weigh station till they return and the evening rush begins again.
Last week a Japanese man flew in and bought a container worth of the local booty and shipped it back to Japan. Globalization.

Anyway, I digressed. Today, we rearranged our schedule to get in on the hunt with Dante and Egle. Dante is off to the higher country where the larger porcini are found and Egle and I are off to the parts of our woods that the casual hunters have overlooked and have left us enough that I'm finally feeling like I can join the ranks of respectable hunters. I have been given the gift of being shown secret places that others don't always find. We had to hurry though, as the neighbors were about to get out before us and they are the serious competition as they have a few years on us and know most of the same spots. If Bruna and Murrat( their dog named "black" in dialect) get out before us we can forget finding as many as we had hoped for. As the first pictures lets you know, we beat them to the hunt and found quite a few that the others passed by and we circled back to find after they had tromped thru. There are white and black porcini as they are called here. The basket pictured above contains the "Catch of the day". Not as plentiful as before, but all quality and delicious. It was a satisfying day indeed.
Thank you Egle!


anna maria said...

I am sending a link to your post to my brother in Seattle, Washington. He goes mushrooming too, but not on such a grand scale, and the Porcini will make him very jealous!
I wrote about his mushroom find on my site and will soon write about the chanterelles he found.
It must be beautiful up there. I grew up in southern Italy, and barely know the North at all. Someday.
Buona caccia!

rowena said...

Pasticerra, what a lovely blog that you have! I can't believe that I haven't run across your site before...it's filled with the type of posts that I enjoy revolving around italian tradition and culture.

Thanks for the info regarding the mushroom (I think you were speaking about the 2nd photo of that huge mushroom?). I told my husband that we should at least purchase a book on mushrooms, but he doesn't feel safe to take any no matter what. Just as well, I love mushrooms but am so accustomed to buying them from the store or someone who collects them. If the day should come where I actually know how to gather them, then it will be good cause for celebration!!

Stephanie Beack said...

Ah, I am so very envious of your lovely life and mushroom hunting autumn. I found you from Rowena's blog...

This weekend I made a dish with dried porcini mushrooms. They just aren't acceptable no matter what the chefs and cookbook authors say. They must be FRESH. I envy you. Maybe I'll fly over for a weekend from New York...

Giancarlo said...

I'm Anna Maria's brother in Seattle. As a mushroomer I find your porcini photographs, how should I say, EROTIC!

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