|2011 Chanterelle mushroom crop|
Knowing absolutely nothing about mushrooms and other fungi, we bought a book on mushrooms of West Virginia, and spent a good part of the weekend identifying different species. We identified more than 25 species, including chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius), many blue and green species, the deadly Death Angel mushroom (Amanita bisporigera), and discovered that what we thought were porcini mushrooms were in fact just that. With one catch. They were a species very closely related to that which grows in Italy. Same size, same shape, same color, but with one key difference: the species was known as the Bitter Boletus. It smelled like a porcini, but tasted like a mixture of a mushroom and a horribly bitter alkaloid. Like chewing an aspirin. Perfectly edible, if you don't mind the taste.
Anyway, looks like wild mushroom risotto tonight. With real wild mushrooms.