Of the 7,000 or so larger — as in, not microscopic — fungi found in Britain, my educated guess is that about 500 are edible, 500 have varying degrees of toxicity and the rest are too small, too tough, too bitter, or too slimy to bother with.
Only about 150 of the edible ones have any gastronomic merit and of those perhaps 30 you would be prepared to pay for in a restaurant. Even then there is a hierarchy of excellence and the four I have chosen are true top-table species.
For those who wish to forage wild mushrooms, it is worth noting that only two dozen of the 500 poisonous species are deadly. This sounds encouraging, but very few of the thousand or so fungus forays I have enjoyed over the years have failed to find something that would have had me in intensive care if I’d eaten them. I see death caps a couple of times every year and I find the brown roll rim, which can catastrophically destroy all your red blood cells, in every autumn woodland I visit.
Wine pairing with the understated flavours of most mushrooms is a minority pursuit. I was prepared to have a stab at it and had a tentative list, but I found myself wandering without purpose around London when I encountered the discreet yet dauntingly impressive premises of Berry Bros & Rudd of Pall Mall.
Knowing it to be a bit cheeky, I expected a rather cool response to my mushroom-related questions, but they could not have been kinder nor more helpful. In fact, they sat me down in a Windsor chair next to a nice cricket table and introduced me to the dauntingly knowledgeable Edwin Dublin. The following recommendations are the result, though mushrooms seldom make a meal on their own and I have included some game that matches both wine and fungi.
The penny bun may be more familiar to you as the cep, porcino, steinpilz or any of two dozen other names. I like the British name as the cap markedly resembles a mid-brown soft bread roll, complete with the dimples. It is a common species that is associated with certain trees, what I call the ‘big five’ — oak, beech, birch, pine, and spruce, the upshot being not to bother with sycamore or ash woods.
The penny bun is easy to identify: a brown, rounded cap that flattens with age, slightly sticky when damp, and with characteristic dimples.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Anyone Fancy Coney Carbonara?
Cooking rabbit well can be a real challenge but with some expert advice our aspiring chef reckons he’s cracked it
How To Make Sure The Gunline Is In The Right Place
Liam Bell offers some guidance on how to make sure the gunline is in the right place
Wild greys need the ‘three-legged stool'
Successful reintroduction of our native partridge is complex and there are several things we can do to give it the best possible chance
Just another bloke on the Gun bus
George Browne crunches the numbers as he tries to build up a realistic pen portrait of the ‘ordinary shooting person’
There are some beasts that you simply cannot walk past and a redletter day on the hill with a former mentor ends with a perfect stalk
The ‘grey grouse' is a very fine pretender
Opportunities to take on the king of the gamebirds are few and far between, but the humble pigeon is a worthy stand-in for Blue Zulu
Find a fungi for that bunny
Rabbit, brown trout or venison pair beautifully with four of our tasty native mushrooms; John Wright simply has to pick the perfect wine
Terrierists at large
It would be almost unthinkable to go anywhere without the dogs but travelling with them is often a bit of a nightmare, says Petrel
Nippon out to bag a monster
The Ukrainian forests contain a subspecies of sika much bigger than our own — but they can be very hard to find, says Thomas Nissen
Scottish gamekeepers oppose ban on lead
The SGA remains unconvinced by the evidence when it comes to how humane and safe non-toxic loads are for wildlife management
First to Join Pioneers and Planters
Michael Edwards is pastor of Orange Grove Church in Charleston, South Carolina. A fourth-generation bishop, he is the grandson of former General Overseer M. A. Tomlinson and great grandson of A. J. Tomlinson. Bishop Edwards is a graduate of Tomlinson College (1979). He and his wife, Cindy, have been married more than 45 years.
We add a hydro boost power brake system to our early Bronco
The Salinger Dilemma
How do you put a price on the sound of an author’s voice?
FROM STEEL CITY TO SMART CITY
After its core Industrial Age industries fell to progress and changing times, Pittsburgh reinvented itself to become one of the most innovative tech hubs in the world.
FALLING IN LOVE
LEMMINGS still haunts my nightmares almost three decades later.
RADIANCE DUKE WINDSOR
GOLD is the color of extravagance, wealth, riches, and excess and shares several of the color yellow attributes.
A Revolutionary Chair
Revolving Windsor chair with writing arm. 1775-76 Mahogany, poplar, and other woods 431⁄2 × 30 × 331⁄2 American Philosophical Society. Gift of John Kintzing Kane, 20 April 1838.
OUTMANNED OLD PARTY
Not long ago, the Republican Party was a political force in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, exerting influence on budgets and policies even when they lacked majorities on the City Council and county commission. Those days have gone, and plans for the 2020 Republican convention collapsed. What happened—and what might make the pendulum swing back?
A GOOD RIDE!
QUEEN ELIZABETH MARKS 67 YEARS ON THE BRITISH THRONE WHILE SHELTERING AT HOME.
34TH ANNUAL LONDON BRIDGE SEAPLANE CLASSIC
A premier floatplane event