Friday, 5 December 2014

Polar bears and Death caps.

Few things make me as happy as collecting mushrooms in the forest. Francoise suggested going the morning after I arrived and I jumped at the idea. Almost as enticing are markets. As we drove through town ( Gueugnon ) we noticed the markets were on. Lets have a look.

A little Xmas display

The market circles the church in the middle of town.

Lots of farm fresh vegetables were on display. The dutch nieuwe haring stand was a bit of a surprise. We bought two and then went to the fresh goat cheese stand. After a tub of Faisselle, an aged crotten and a tub of cream we headed to the secret spot. 

We parked next to the forest and had this nice horse saunter over to check us out. Francoise apologised for not bringing a piece of bread. They were obviously old friends. Of course I cannot share the location with you. If I did the locals would kill me.

The first surprise was seeing this Chanterelle. In French they are called Girolles and in German, Pfifferlinge. Normally they grow in the summer, sometimes as late as October but nobody has ever seen one in December. It can't be because of Global warming of course because as we all know that is Commie propaganda.

As you can see they were all over the place.

The one we came for was the Winter Chanterelle or Yellowfoot. They absolutely covered the forest floor and we were busy the next half hour filling up our baskets. In the end we collected 5 kg but could have collected 50 kg without walking too far. Even they are usually not around this time of year any more.

Now it was time for lunch so we headed back to the car. On the way I took another few pictures of non-edible mushroons. This one is ( probably ) a Amanita muscaria. Sometimes people confuse this one for a Caesars amanita which is a very rare but highly prized edible mushroom. I have never been fortunate enough to find one.

One is delicious, the other is highly toxic and can give severe hallucinations and stomach aches. That is the danger with collecting. Every edible mushroom has a dangerous doppelgaenger. 

Doesn't this little white on look pretty? Just like a tasty button mushroom that you can buy at any supermarket. Well it might look the same but instead of being a Champignon or Agaricus bisporus, it is in fact a Amanita phalloides or Deathcap. 

I've turned it over for you so you can see the difference. The underside is white instead of pink to brown. Also it has a bulb at the base which is ripped off here. This mushroom is so deadly that I dare not even touch it with bare hands. One of these little devils in a dish and you and your whole family and anybody you invited for dinner is DEAD.

It can also be coloured slightly differently depending on the soil and other variables. I have been a member of the Munich mushroom society for a decade. When I was living in Munich I went every week to listen to the experts and would still not think about eating any mushroom unless I was 100% certain of what it was. 

Do not go out to collect mushrooms without an expert. 

And now we come to the limits of my knowledge. I think it belongs to the Russula family. There are a few delicious ones and others which can make you very sick. Although I have been on many excursions and lectures featuring this family there is no way I would dare to collect them. Even mycologists get it wrong sometimes and spend hours vomiting into a bucket.
Pretty though :-)

That's it for now. Please do not go mushrooming based only on this post. It is a great hobby but requires a lot of knowledge otherwise you could kill not only yourself but also whoever you feed.

Mind you with all the news of impending war between the EU/US and Russia, it is a good idea to know how to live off the land in case civilization does collapse. Not saying it's going to happen but it's better to be too paranoid than not paranoid enough :-)

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