The sanctity of mushroom hunting

I’ve just been talking to a neighbour who looked at the unstable clouds to the west and instantly cheered up, and said: “Good mushroom weather”.

Locals regard the cèpes as the desirable delicacy.  Come this time of year, as soon as there is some rain, men disappear into the local woods – somewhat secretively, not  wishing others to know where their favourite spot is for finding this delicacy. It’s about the only time I see some of these men set off on a walk!

The rain has come just in time: this is the weekend of “Les journées mycologiques” in le Vigan – two days devoted to the mysteries and pleasures of the mushroom.  There is always a splendid exhibition of mushrooms, with experts on hand to identify specimens brought in by the public.

Tomorrow evening a university mushroom expert will give a talk on the sex life of the truffle! (I don’t know how else to translate “Tout savoir sur la sexualité des truffes”.) And on Sunday another university mushroom expert will lead a walk near le Vigan in search of different varieties of mushrooms.

I’m not particularly keen on cèpes, but if somebody were selling chanterelles in the market tomorrow, I would be there like a shot.  I remember years back in Scotland, Chris used to buy lovely fresh chanterelles from a local shop, supplied by one little old lady doing the rounds of the woods near Ediburgh.

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