Home again…

DSC_048012 flights, 4 timezones, 3 states and 2 countries later, we finally arrived back home in our little village in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Brittany. Home to Autumn and a garden floor littered with apples, mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts, and leaves of all colors.

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It’s been over a month since we came home, but I think we’ve only just now recovered from our epic American tour… however, there are worse ways to recover than roasting chestnuts on a crackling fire, bundling up for walks with the dogs in the ever-increasing cold, and harvesting, peeling and storing nuts and apples galore.

But my favorite Autumn past time by far, has been foraging for mushrooms. I’ve always wanted to learn how to gather mushrooms (without poisoning myself), but have never gotten around to it. As there are so many local Bretons who grew up in these forests and really know their champignons, I couldn’t let another Fall mushroom season pass by without taking advantage. So I asked my friend to show me his secret mushroom spots, and he kindly agreed.

Following the expert

Following the expert

As we made in into the depths of the forest, he started pointing out the edible mushrooms: giant cèpes, delicate chanterelles, and billowy white pied-de-moutons. 

Un cèpe

Un cèpe

Les chanterelles

Les chanterelles

Les pied-de-mouton (Sheep's foot)

Les pied-de-mouton (Sheep’s foot)

When I wasn’t squinting intently at the forest floor to find the mushrooms hiding amongst the fallen leaves, I was drinking in the colors of Fall.

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We had the best luck with chanterelles; they were everywhere. My bag filled up more quickly than I could’ve imagined, and before I knew it, I had 5 kilos worth. Rain put a bit of a damper on our hunt, driving us back to the car sooner than I would’ve liked. Even so, we had a very bountiful foraging.

Pied-de-mouton, this one still eludes me. My friend found most of these...

Pied-de-mouton, this one still eludes me. My friend found most of these…

My bounty of chanterelles, I took home 5 kilos from 1 hour in the forest

A bit of my bounty of chanterelles

I’m hooked. I can’t wait to get back into the forest in search of more mushrooms (even though our kitchen is already full up of trays of drying chanterelles). As Autumn quickly slips into winter, I am happy to have an abundance of mushrooms to make warming dishes like Mushroom Stroganoff, Omelette aux chanterelles, Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes. That, in combination with our big new wood burner will hopefully keep us warm through the next few months. We’ll need it: we had our first snow fall yesterday, with cold winds blowing relentlessly from the North.

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3 Responses to Home again…

  1. I miss this place… and I miss you! As always, gorgeous photos :) Love, kels

  2. Tort McCarter says:

    Your grandfather would be so proud–I remember hunting mushrooms with him in the Chino Hills after it rained. He learned from his aunt Maddalena, better known as Manya. She’s the one who taught your grandmother Betty how to cook like an Italian. I really love that first “fall color” photo, not at all like the typical fall colors.

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