Friday, June 19

The Art of the Porcini Hunt

a perfect porcino found by Jason

"I'll be here at 5:30 am ... have the coffee ready!" commanded our "capo" Dott. Gaggi.
We knew what that meant - the conditions were right for a rare summer mushroom hunt - but in particular for the ever-loved - porcini! We had the perfect guide - Dott. Gaggi, certified Mushroom Hunter & expert on everything! Mushroom lovers & die-hards know that 10 -15 days after a good rain followed by warm dry weather is ideal hunting conditions & those funghi are ready to pop up!

So we pulled on the wellies & tredged into the woods. Mushroom hunting is an art with many secrets along the way. First it is the location - one that is not over-run, that very few people hunt at. Then you must whisper or whistle to alert the other - as most mushrooms grow in pairs - "where there is one, there is many" I heard this over & over today. So you don't want to draw attention to where you are because you never know who else may be out there with you.

I couldn't believe how fast the doctor started finding mushrooms & porcini to say the least - one after the other - I heard "Ashley vieni qui (come here)" & sure enough another fat one in the ground! So how does he do it - well years & years with a well trained eye. But the secret is to look for where the leaves bunch up - they are getting pushed up for the mushroom growing. Sometimes you're lucky enough to find them out in the open too!


Now when you come across another hunter, it is not costumary to acknowledge him - just pass, but we didn't know - we came across another hunter & jolly Jason said - Buon giorno signor, what a beautiful morning this is! We both bum rushed the guy to peak in his deep basket that was filled with plump mushrooms. He grumbled about what a bad morning it is for hunting & that there is just nothing to be found in these woods. NOT TRUE! Our basket was overflowing at this point & so was his. So never let on that you are doing well. Gaggi recommends a deep covered basket so no one can see in.


This would be a good time to NOTE: Jason & I have no idea what we are doing, we have never gone mushroom hunting before, we have no clue which mushrooms are delicious to eat & which will kill you instantly! We are just totally lucky & thankful to have the good doctor Gaggi showing us the ropes & sharing these experience with us!

The count: 22 beautiful porcini & 35 La Russola (in dialect: Bietta) sorry no clue what it's called in English. So I must say we did freakn' awesome for our first time out - in June! We'll be back for more...
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