Sunday, October 28, 2012

A French Country Weekend


If one has a doubt about one's "crop" all French pharmacies will tell anyone what is poisonous and what is deliciously edible. Our pharmacist even offers recipes to her clients.
Everyone I know is complaining.

"It's an invasion," they're saying. "It's outrageous," they continue. "There should be a law," one whined. "It's not even fun anymore," another lamented.

They're complaining about the thousands of "invaders" who have parked their cars along the sides of the roads leading into the Rambouillet forrest.

Les Cepes.
It's champignons picking season and, it's true, never in all the years we have lived surrounded by the forrest have I seen so many cars. One friend claims people are coming from other countries to collect them this year. Because of all the rain over the last few months, it's not a question of hunting down the various delicious species, it's more a problem of not tripping over or stepping on them. The forrest floor is covered with them.

Like the dead wood that falls onto the ground, mushrooms are there for everyone to gather, and gather they do, by the kilos. I've heard the boasting in shops, "I have more than 50 kilos!" one man proudly proclaimed. A friend of mine said she was planning an all mushroom dinner for friends. Another friend, who in one hour scouting with her husband collected more than 20 kilos, said she dreaded the next step in the process.

"It takes me longer to clean them than it does to pick them -- it takes hours," she said.

Les Morilles.
Lucky me, I have friends who give us a basket or two every year. We usually keep everything simple, an omelette or as an accompaniment to just about anything when sauteed in a little olive oil and a tiny noisette of butter, salt, pepper and parsley. No garlic, no shallots like some of my friends.

Weather Report: An idyllic autumn day --  bright sun, bracing temperatures -- perfect champignon picking kind of day.

12 comments:

Francine Gardner said...

I just received yesterday our guide book to mushroom.
growing up in the South of france, mushroom picking is almost a ruthless experience, where secret territories are protected. my grand father has lost more friendship over the famous Cepes. In the States, all I want to make sure is that I do not eat an amanita in lieu of a Girole..

webb said...

Wish it were so simple in virginia. Fortunately, i have an excellent "farmer" at the weekly market. Hes not french, but brings agreat variety this time of year.

The morrell looks good enough that you could declare it a fruit and wish on it!

French Girl in Seattle said...

Ah, les champignons! When we were little kids, one of the first things they taught at the French elementary school (or so I remember,) was to recognize the "poisonous" ones. To this day, I still remember the name and the look of the "Amanite Phalloide!" -- Not that this ever stopped me from enjoying les champignons. A mushroom omelet with Normandy butter sounds delicious right about now. :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Une Femme said...

Yum! I think we only occasionally get "toadstools" here during the rainy season. Last night we dined at an Italian place and enjoyed a fabulous black truffle pasta. (The proprietress claimed the truffles were imported fresh from Italy; from the lovely delicate flavor they may well have been.) Enjoy your lovely 'shrooms!

knitpurl said...

Wow, definitely sounds like the above described mushrooms (seems like a trite word to use) would be so delicious. In my part of the world - USA Midwest - these items exist only in the best of gourmet markets and then only maybe.

Right now, I'm awaiting a plane's take-off from NYC to bring a son home early from his Manhattan vacation. Booooo Sandy!
xoxoxo

A Well Styled Life said...

Your omelette sounds wonderful. And how lucky you are to have a friend pick for you!

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

One of my first memories of dining at a French restaurant was their morel and mushrooms on toast points...
yummy!
Your omelette sounds mouth watering. I bet it was scrumptious!

Amelia said...

I've read about those secret places only known to experience mushroom and truffel pickers. I feel sorry for the natives having invaders in their mushroom territory.

Hmmmm...I can't get to France for mushrooms but to Oregon in a blink of an eye (almost). I can see morels, lobster mushrooms, porcini, and matsutakes dancing in my head...:)

Nice to have friends who come bearing yummy gifts in baskets. Bon Appetit!

Lisa Laree said...

Growing up in Indiana, our mushroom season was always in the spring; better if the weather warmed up suddenly. Morels were always the objective in our hunts. Wow...it's been a long time since I ate morels...

playingwithscarves said...

Mushroom picking.......There is no best way to build memories when you are young. I still remember the time I would go mushroom picking with my grand father in France. Enjoy! The weather for the coming weeks seems less favorable to mushrooms...
Anne (Playing With Scarves)

helen tilston said...

Hello Tish

What a delightful gift from your friend.

Like you, I believe the simpler the recipe the more delicious.

I have collected field mushrooms in Ireland but we were not familiar with many, so kept our distance.

Helen xx

Jennifer- The Adventuresome Kitchen said...

interesting that here in the Midwest, morel season is in May. Enjoy les cepes. Freshly harvested mushrooms taste like no other.

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