Hunting for Girolles
We spotted the first girolles of the season in the Sunday market in St-Cyprien.
In true French style, our hosts passed them by and suggested we go look for our own later that afternoon. It had been raining earlier in the day and, according to someone at the market, the mushroom season is 3 weeks early this year thanks to a relatively warm spring.
After our Sunday nap, at about 5pm we set our with Jean-Louis for a mushroom hunt!
Looks like an invitation to me! Jean-Louis, having grown up in this area, just shrugged his shoulders at the sign. He said that sometimes people are bussed in from Bordeaux by unscrupulous mushroom hunters. Since we were locals, it was ok to hunt where we pleased. It is clearly the birthright of every French paysane to forage for nature’s bounty.
At first, we scrambled up a hill into the forest. For about an hour, we found nothing but poisonous mushrooms.
Some of these might not be deadly, but they are definitely not good to eat.
Bingo! I found the first one. After that, we found a few more, but it wasn't easy. You have to scan the forest floor for a tiny bit of bright yellow, gently move aside the leaf litter and hope to uncover your prey. Most of the time, it’s just a yellowed leaf.
Here’s a couple more.
Mushroom hunting is both meditative and addicting. With the light fading, we headed back, reluctantly.
Our take for the day. Not bad for a couple of amateurs. Merci, Jean-Louis, for a truly memorable experience!
The next day, Jean-Louis set out a dawn. With another night for the girolles to grow, he had no trouble finding a kilo and a half.
We’re having omelettes au girolles tonight for dinner!