Friday, June 04, 2010

All mushrooms are edible - once

But don't go trying them to find out. This one is most certainly not edible twice. Here in France, and even here around where we live, people do gather mushrooms in the wild. They are people who know what they're doing. We've been given gathered mushrooms and enjoyed them.

This mushroom will not end up on my table.

But first we verified that they were the kind we could eat twice. To do that, you take your mushrooms to a pharmacy and the pharmacist, who is trained in mushroom lore (mycology) will tell you if they're ok to eat. You can do this anywhere in France. There are edible mushrooms that grow in our yard, but we've never eaten them.

Of course, you can also just buy your mushrooms from a vendor or a store. In our Saturday market there's a local lady who grows mushrooms in her caves and sells them. She grows several varieties (white and brown button, shitake, oyster) and sets up her little table and sells them. They're always beautiful and they're always delicious.

We buy dried mushrooms from the Asian supermarket in Blois. They're good when soaked and added to soups, stir-fries, and stuffings.

Up the road from us, there is a commercial mushroom cave that deals in large quantities and gives tours. We've done the tour once and it was very interesting. The caves were originally the quarries from which limestone was taken to build many of the châteaux in the Loire Valley, including Chambord. Now the galleries are home to bundles of dirt into which the various fungi are injected, resulting in crops and crops of mushrooms.

Most of the mushrooms we eat are the locally grown champignons de Paris (button mushrooms). Sometimes, though, we'll treat ourselves to more exotic varieties like cèpes, chanterelles, or even trompettes de la mort.

As my father used to say: there's a fungus among us.


  1. I'd love to visit the mushroom cave the next time I'm there.

  2. No problem, Peter. I'll find out what the hours are.

  3. I am surprised no-one has said it yet (maybe all your readers are too sophisticated...), but I will take the plunge.

    By a fungi about a fungi. How appropriate :¬)

  4. Simon....OUCH!

    That one hurts.

  5. Walt, now we know where you got your quick wit.

    Simon, is your dad to blame--I mean, does your dad get credit for your sense of humor?

  6. This is a very clever headline to this post. I am going to have to plunder it for use at an appropriate venue - like a cocktail party.

  7. I guess I'm the only one who's going to them twice? Surely, you don't mean the first time kills you?

  8. I've always wanted to grow my own mushrooms - whether they are of the simply edible variety or the mind-altering variety. I love mushrooms on almost everything - and prefer homemade cream of mushroom soup to almost every other kind of soup.

  9. peter, what Ken said.

    simon, does that have some secret Aussie meaning?

    bill, I don't get it? Maybe it's better that way.

    carolyn, hehehehe.

    diogenes, feel free. I stole it myself (from an unknown source).

    starman, yup. If you eat the wrong mushrooms. Some are quite lethal.

    writer, that sounds good... now I've got a craving!

  10. Yes, even experts in mushroom picking can get it wrong sometimes. Having your pickings double checked doesn't hurt and will always save you from the risk. I bring more than a book a long when I plan excursions for mushrooms.


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