After a really wonderful day in Venice with Ma and Pa we decided that an Italian countryside chill out was needed and hopped on a train south to Popolano, a small village inside the Tuscan region. The rain only enhanced the lush green vegetation amongst the rolling green hills. It was my first taste of the Italian countryside, I felt it soothing my soul, just what we needed!
Hardly time to settle into our room before Giovanni our host knocked at the door with a big box of mushrooms. His father had been out that morning and hauled in a monster catch. We were invited to go foraging the next day if the weather was fine. A sunny day following a week of rain is perfect for the porcini at this time of year.
The language barrier reared it’s ugly head once again and so we were not quite sure when or where we would go but at around 2pm we got a knock on the door and were ushered into a little 4×4 panda with Giovanni’s father Roberto and whisked of up into the mountains.
Roberto obviously knew what he was doing and it felt like he was also passing his knowledge on to Giovanni as he pointed to different shades of green and distinct arches in the grass. They both had cool little rake-type-comb things. They showed us where to look and then got busy scratching around in the field.
A very different technique than when Nina and I were wandering through the New Forest unable to miss the hundreds of mushrooms thrusting themselves towards us. We had to hunt hard for them and to make things harder someone had already been to this patch earlier in the day.
We hunted around for a good couple of hours and found ourselves enough fungi for dinner. We were told that in another two weeks there would be many more mushrooms and they’d be bigger too. We were on the cusp of fungi season and so retired to our home for the evening eager to cook up our new found treats.