Porcini Picking and Wasps


Val di Sole

I feel very lucky to have been able to experience mountain life, as the locals do, on more than one occasion. The house I visit is in the Val di Sole situated in the Dolomites. The literal translation from the italian would be 'Sunshine Valley'. When I visited this summer, it didn't quite live up to its name; we got very rained on. Word is going round that this summer, in Italy, has been the worst on record since the 1930s and I definitely got a better sun tan on the Isle of Wight this year!

One very good thing to come from all the rain and bad weather this year is the amount of mushrooms popping up all over the place. We went up the mountain in style in an old American army Jeep that had no seat belts, no doors or windows in the back and no cushions on the seats. 

On our way up the mountain, the heavens opened and we got absolutely drenched to the bone. This didn't dampen our spirits (pun intended) and we sheltered in a mountain refuge for half an hour to warm up with a coffee and warm our hands over the wood-burning stove.

Once we finally set off looking for porcini, the rain calmed down a bit, and our wait was worthwhile as we found LOADS of them. They were everywhere we looked! With fruitfulness came disaster and I managed to step on a wasps nest. Not just any wasps, angry mountain wasps in their underground lair. 5 good stings and a lots of screaming, running around in circles in a state of panic with at least 50 wasps circling me later and we were off porcini picking again. 

Watch this space for a porcini themed autumnal dish...

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