The Italian State is omnipotent. It even announces when people can start mushrooming - a national pastime here. Anyway, today is the day as the heavy rain of about ten days ago was followed by some hot weather, making conditions ideal for funghi. And not only do they say when you can go but also how much you have to pay for a permesso, the mushroom picking licence. I think this year it is about €35; and it doesn't finish there. You then have to validate it with a marca da bollo, which is an official government stamp (only available from tobacconists) at €14.90; so you are meant to wedge up the thick end of €50 to get muddy, catch a cold and run the risk of a wild boar using your rear end as target practice whilst you are bent over not finding mushrooms. I don't know anyone who actually pays it, but maybe the professional funghioli (mushroom hunters) do in case the Italian Forestry Police (yes, they really do exist, spending most of their time driving round in Land Rovers and 4x4 Pandas doing sod all) nab them.
Licence-less I was out with Lucky this morning in the Combo woods and found these beauties. They are porcini or ceps (in French) or, rather pleasingly, penny buns for us lot. I shall slice them finely and fry them in a little olive oil with finely chopped garlic and parsley. Fresh bread and washed down with some decent Gavi di Gavi. Yum yum pig's bum!
PS Set prop courtesy of Unmitigated England.
PPS I am aware that what little posting there has been of late has been virtually alcohol-free. What with one thing and another I have been distracted recently. I shall do my utmost etc etc