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Happy for the hunt August 20, 2008

Posted by dorigo in food, personal, travel.
Tags: ,

No, not a post about Physics. Having no inspiration to discuss particles and their interactions, I console myself by posting a picture of today’s achievement: one of the best specimens of Boletus Edulis I have ever found in years of walks in the wood. Great brown color, the top is perfectly round and intact. The flesh has the consistency of much younger specimens, and upon cutting it (we are going to have it raw, with just oil, salt, pepper, and maybe a bit of lemon juice) it is of a very pleasant white. The taste is of fresh walnuts.

I found it together with its smaller buddies this afternoon, while walking back from Malga Nemes. That is a very panoramic place we usually hike to from Passo Montecroce Comelico, close to Padola, where I spend a few weeks every summer. I saw a nice Amanita Muscaria on the right of the trail under some trees, and went in to investigate – Amanita Muscaria is believed to be a marker for Boletus Edulis, and I can only confirm that the two mushrooms like to grow close together. As I examined the area, I saw a wonderful double circle of tiny mushrooms, making a perfect 8. I cursed myself for not having brought a camera with me, and then I spotted today’s prey, which showed head and shoulders above the ground which it had parted to grow. I am unable to explain why, but finding these mushrooms brings me a lot of satisfaction. And, this evening, the satisfaction will be from eating it!



1. Neil B. - August 21, 2008

I sure like edible mushrooms too. It’s hard to find some that are actually good tasting (not just “OK” in a salad etc.) I can’t find Campbell’s savory “Golden Mushroom” soup anymore, I wonder why not or where I can get some. It was way better than the dorky cream of mushroom pablum we have enough of.

BTW, Dorigo (or anyone else) – would you dare to nibble some Amanita to sample the exotic psychological effects (not the psilocybin in other species)? Just curious, feel free to pass on such a personal question.

2. dorigo - August 21, 2008

Hi Neil,

in Italy one still finds Boleti, as well as Cantarellus Cibarius, Armillariella Mellea, and a few other tasty species at groceries during late summer and fall. They are expensive but not nearly as much as truffles.

I am actually quite scared by mushroom poisoning. My mother’s husband got intoxicated once: he had collected a couple of pounds of a variety we call “russola”, which is excellent when cooked, but in order to be distinguished from other poisonous species requires you to taste a bit of them raw. He ended up tasting them a bit too generously, and was on the verge of dying of the poison. These mushrools can in fact only be consumed after cooking -heat destroys some nasty molecules.

I used to collect almost every edible mushroom I found in the woods, but I have grown more wary with time, especially now with children. As for experiencing the effects of amanita muscaria I am glad to pass. I feel perfectly happy in my normal state of mind.


3. changcho - August 21, 2008

Ah Tommaso, be very very careful with those mushrooms (the ‘edible-looking’ ones, not the psychotic ones!)…

4. bozox - August 22, 2008

With boletes, you’re pretty safe. The only poisonous ones have a distinctive orange to red sponge,

And yes, porcini are yummy. Never had ’em raw, though. Soup, or fried with butter and onions and sour cream. Or pickled.

Folks claim those are abundant in upstate NY and lower parts of Canada.

5. carlbrannen - August 22, 2008

It’s a shame I didn’t realize you were a wild mushroom afficionado before you visited Albuquerque. I’d have hooked you up with my mom, who lives there and possibly could have arranged for you to hunt them in New Mexico.

On another hobby topic, my chess continues to improve due to study of books on tactics; but I’m still playing less than 2 hours per week.

6. dorigo - August 22, 2008

Ha! It would have been fun, although I was very busy during that week in Albuquerque (only afternoon off was to see the peak).

Good to hear you keep working on your tactics, I hope we can play on ICC soon.


7. dorigo - August 22, 2008

Changcho, I collect only those I know very well in fact. It’s scary a piece of mushroom can kill you…

Bozox, is it true in the US it is easier to find them because few people collect them ?

8. bozox - August 22, 2008

True. Although the populace is slowly but surely waking up to the wonderful diversity of the fungal world, mushroom hunting is a still a niche sport at best. I’ve encountered wonderful mushrooms growing within direct sight of well-trodden mountain trails – no one bothered, apparently.

9. dorigo - August 22, 2008

That is also my own experience. I once found a boletus edulis just on the trail – a well-beaten one, in Mammoth Mountain, next to the Devil’s Stockpile. I ended up not picking it up – I had no cooking tools with me, and I was not even so sure that US varieties were completely the same.


10. Francesco - August 24, 2008

Very nice boletus indeed.

Yesterday we tested the situation in the Foret des Soignes in brussels (this summer has been, even for Brussels, one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen, temperatures around 18C for the whole August) and found out a lot of promising things for the next weekends: Cantarellus/finferli, Agaricus campestris (rather tempting but this mushroom may be confused with Amanita Phalloides) and Russola. It is still early here and too much rain lately but I hope that a few warmer days will prepare the ground for a nice risotto.

11. rafa - August 25, 2008

If you can find Edulis my recommendation is to look also in the surroundings for the Lepista Nuda, in my opinion the taste is even more subtle than the Edulis. I recommend the Lepista not only because I think is better than the Edulis but also because too many people already feel comfortable collecting the Edulis while ignoring the Lepista (although with its blue color there’s no room for confusion as long as you take the appropiate cautions). How do you like the Edulis? there are 100’s of recipes 🙂


12. dorigo - August 25, 2008

Hi Francesco, good luck in Brussels, and don’t forget a nice wine to accompany it… Brunello or any other idea ?

Hi Rafa,

I never heard of Lepista Nuda, is it common in Europe ? I will look it up.
As for the boletus edulis, I like it in a mix with other mushrooms, like cantharellus cibarius and armillariella mellea. By itself it is good in risotto or with raw meat and spices…


13. rafa - August 26, 2008

Yes it is, look also for “pied bleu”, e.g http://www.pharmanatur.com/lepistanuda.htm

14. dorigo - August 26, 2008

Oh, thanks. I think I know the kind, but I never collected it. My mother’s husband once had a serious intoxication from eating small pieces of mushrooms raw while he was cleaning them, and from then on I have grown wary…


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