Anne's Blog


Date: September 23, 2013 - categories: , , , - 1 Comment

Rain these past few days and warm sun: mushroom time. I spotted a couple yesterday under the oak trees.
What memories of past mushroom hunts – and here is a note on funghi days:

In the late 70’s when we farmed our land, I often went mushrooming with my contadina (farmwoman) neighbors. When warm days followed a rain, it was time to put on rubber boots, grab a walking stick and basket and head for the woods.

Willow baskets were woven by the farmers at the fireside on winter nights – when the repairing of tools was done and also the making of necessary new implements. These baskets were used for the grape and olive harvests. But also for mushrooming: “così, le molliche arnascono”, as our neighbor Chiarina (and often my companion for hunting funghi) would say in Umbrian dialect. Rough translation: “so that the crumbs will be reborn” (ie, so that the spores will return to the heavy loam of the woods). Chiarina taught me the names of the mushrooms – and as a result, I do not use the botanical names of most of them but only their names in dialect.

Like every contadina (and contadino!), Chiarina had her favorite spots for funghi. (Rarely were funghi locations shared with anyone outside the immediate family). She knew where the precious porcini would pop through the earth; where to find the reddish and ivory-colored lardaie; the best spots for the bright yellow manine (by a stretch of the imagination, perhaps they did in fact resemble “little hands”). The famigliole (“little families”) popped in clusters under oak and poplar trees in open fields. The earth-colored puzzoni (or “stinkers” – easily distinguishable by the moldy smell under the cap) were omnipresent in our woods during mushroom season. If I went mushrooming on my own, I took my basketful to Chiarina or Mandina (my nearest farmwomen neighbors) to check them out, never quite trusting my own funghi-recognition capabilities. Now and then, we read in the papers about people ending up in the hospital with mushroom poisoning. The porcini and puzzoni especially have evil “twins”!

mushroomsIn December this year, we had rain followed by unseasonally warm weather. On the first sunny day, our daughter Giulia headed for the woods with her Papà. An hour later, they returned home triumphantly with overflowing baskets. Off we all went to see Chiarina. She and her mother, Antonia, inspected them for us (see photo). Some were discarded with admonitions of “o Dio mio!” but enough “passed” for delicious funghi tomato sauces and many side dishes of roasted mushrooms.

Mushrooms can be prepared in a variety of ways: the porcini are delicious any way that you cook them, eg, roasted on the grill with minced garlic, parsley and olive oil on top (the best way to cook puzzoni, too). The manine enhance any tomato sauce, whether for pasta or for polenta. Lardaie are tasty preserved under oil as an antipasto – or if prepared al funghetto, which means in fact “the way to cook mushrooms”.

Here is how to prepare mushrooms (even cultivated ones) al funghetto:

Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and sauté one or two finely-minced garlic cloves in the oil til golden. Add mushrooms and simmer briefly til cooked. Add finely-chopped parsley just before done and salt to taste. Serve.

Zucchini and eggplant are often prepared al funghetto as well.

Read more on mushroom hunting – in Tuscany

Read more on on our rural life

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)