Foraging in autumn : back at Forêt du Jorat for another mushroom hunt … …

SAM_1175.ASpurred by the small success of our first cycling cum mushroom hunting expedition at the Forest of Jorat, we decided to go back to the same forest a week later when the weather proved cooperative.

However, this time round after having realised the physical shape that I was in, the hubby proposed that whereas he would cycle to the forest with both bicycles, I could take the public transport so that we could be at the forest more quickly than by going up there half-cycling, half-walking as we had done the previous week. Naturally, I was more than happy to agree with this proposition! :)

The weather that day was really lovely (unlike when we had gone there to learn about mushrooms two weeks earlier ).

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And when I arrived at the Mauvernay Sports Centre (to wait for the hubby), I could see that there were already a number of people there who had come to take advantage of the warm sunny weather to go walking, cycling, running and horse-riding in the forest.

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Having some extra time to spend at the forest (as I had taken the public transport) we were thus able to explore the forest a little more … and we went a lot further than we had done the previous week.

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We cycled for quite sometime, exploring areas where the hubby had not been during his runs in the forest, including this farmland with a view of the Alpes vaudoises in the background.

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We found spots with plenty of hazelnut trees growing at the sides of the forest road… which unfortunately had finished their season … and I also discovered spots where several blackthorn trees were heavily laden with their black plum-like berries. And along the way, we also made several stops to look for edible mushrooms that we could bring home.

Mauvernay

This panorama shows the view we saw when we arrived at the plain of Mauvernay several hours later. The sports centre is hidden by the trees on the right. However, as I am quite bad with directions, it took me a while before I realised that we were, in fact, approaching Mauvernay! ish … ish … ish … :)

Unlike the previous week, on this outing, we chose to enter the forest from the other side of the plain (the row of trees on the opposite side of the sports centre).

SAM_1263.AHubby giving the bicycles a quick shower and clean-up at the sports centre before heading back home.

As much as I had enjoyed exploring the vast forest of Jorat on my bicycles that day … I enjoyed myself even more during the hunt for mushrooms. And contrary to the claim of a lady (who saw us searching for mushrooms) that there was no more edible mushrooms to be found at the forest … we found enough to make us happy.

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Accidentally stumbling across this shaggy mane mushroom (coprinus comatus) at the start of our mushroom cum cycling exploration must had been a good omen … because, on this second hunt, we managed to find the kind of edible mushrooms that I had been looking for.

Interestingly, this mushroom (which is edible) was spotted while I was cycling. So obviously, as my experience (on two separate outings) had shown me, it IS possible to find some mushrooms even while one is cycling! :D )

SAM_1205AThe hubby was the first to spot these chanterelles. Of course, at that time, we were still not 100% sure but we were almost certain that they could be the real ones. So into a paper bag they went for their date with the mushroom inspectors!

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Unfortunately, these were the only ones that we found that day. Still … better a few than none at all lah!

It was so much fun seeking the boletes that day … mainly because we managed to find them! :) Unlike the boletes that I found the previous week, the ones that we found this time were generally much smaller.

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It was really adorable to see them in their setting … playing hide and seek with foragers like us! :)

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Alone, I might have missed a few of them. But with two pair of eyes, it was much easier to find them in spite of their camouflage.  Although it would have been better (for our tummies) if they had been bigger … beggar foragers like us cannot afford to be choosy lah!

Bay bolet

As we could not be sure they would still be there by our next visit (which would depend very much on the weather), we chose to pick those that looked good to eat even though they were still quite small.

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Unfortunately, although we found several of these cute boletes, … they were not the ones that I was looking for.  These were later identified by the mushroom inspector as bay boletes (boletus badius)… a species which is also quite delicious.

But as it was to be our lucky day, we did find that one species of boletes that I had been looking for …

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… the king bolete (also known as cep, porcini, penny bun or by its Latin name boletus edulis) Unfortunately, my little king looked more like a little prince … even though I have to agree, after having had my first taste of this mushroom, that it was indeed delicious (the reason why it is so much sought after). Fortunately for us, we managed to find two other ones slightly bigger than this little prince so that we were able to enjoy the flavour of this king mushroom properly. :)

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Our last stop before heading for home … was to go and look for more autumn chanterelles (craterellus tubaeformis) at the spot where we had found them the previous week. We could not find any there but I managed to spot some at an area not too far away … as well as several more when we happened to stop at another place before leaving the forest.

Autumn chanterelles

Although there were not as many as I had hoped to find and although they were not as big as the ones that we had found one week earlier … they were more than enough to keep the forager in me very happy. :)

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So the next day, I happily went to visit the mushroom inspectors with a basket full of our loot from the forest of Jorat. Inside my basket, (from top going clockwise), I had king boletes or porcini, amethyst deceivers, bay boletes (with one red cracked bolete in the mix), golden chanterelles as well as autumn chanterelles.

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But our loot was reduced to this when I got home … as most of the bay boletes, unfortunately, were no longer good for consumption. It was fortunate that the few king boletes that we found were still okay so that I decided to use them (as well as the few chanterelles that we found) for our dinner that evening. And I have to agree … boletes and chanterelles in omelette … these are matches made in heaven!! :)

Other entries on foraging in autumn:

 

 

 

Foraging in autumn : our first mushroom hunting at Forêt du Jorat …

Although my initial forage at Forêt du Jorat two days after the introductory course to mushrooms in that forest ended with a little disappointment, … I went back again to the same forest about a week later to try again. And this time, I was accompanied by the hubby, who offered to go ‘mushrooming’ with me, on the condition that we would use our bicycles so that he could also show me the vastness of the forest while we would be looking for mushrooms.

As I had not had cycled for quite some time and as it is an uphill ride all the way to the forest from our home … it took us longer than expected to get to the forest.

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Along the way … I got off the bicycle several times to walk whenever we had to go up a steep slope … so that the hubby had to get off his bicycle, too, so that he could help to push mine. :) And then the brief stops at a bakery to get something to eat as well as at two other spots to try to look for some apples and pears to pick caused a further delay to our arrival at the forest.

Okay … as the forest was huge it, therefore, made practical sense to use a bicycle to get around the forest so that we could cover a lot of ground quickly. However, in order to look for mushrooms, we needed to get off the bicycle and to walk in the forest interior, away from the paths and roads. So after having cycled for some time, I told the hubby that it was time to do some walking on the forest ground so that we could do some serious mushrooms hunting and gathering.

Certainly, there were plenty of mushrooms in that forest … but most were not of the edible kind.

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Among those which we spotted in quite a reasonable number were these toothed-jelly fungus (pseudohydnum gelatinosum). Their colour is almost translucent white and the texture is like jelly, which accounts for its name. We did not know then that they were, in fact, edible and so we did not pick any to bring home. But as their taste is supposed to be flavourless … it was no great loss for us not to pick any to try lah!

DSCN2781.AAmazingly I spotted these beautiful earthstar (Geastrummushrooms while I was cycling … and I simply had to stop so that I could take a closer look and take some snapshots of them. There were a few of them and all were in perfect star shape. (They are not edible, by the way … which helps to ‘protect’ them from foragers!)

DSCN2786AAnd later when we stopped at a spot to look for some edible mushrooms, I spotted these two mushrooms which looked quite strange, I thought. It was only much, much later that I learnt that these were also earthstar mushrooms (but after their outer peridium has lost its star-like shape).

By this time, we still had not managed to find any edible mushrooms … except for some amethyst deceivers.

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It was only when we made our last stop to look for mushrooms that the hubby spotted a few of these mushrooms. Although I was not 100% certain, I strongly believed that they were autumn chanterelles (from the photo in my tiny guidebook as well as from the videos that I had watched the night before on YouTube). So I picked the few that we saw so that I could later get them identified by the mushroom inspectors.

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And later as I was preparing to leave the area to head to my bicycle so that we could start making our way back home …  I spotted these mushrooms growing at the side of an old tree stump that I had been standing on to have my last look at the surrounding.

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I was even less certain (than the ones that the hubby had spotted earlier) if they were indeed autumn chanterelles … but I made a last-minute decision to pick all that I could find there so that I could get them verified as well.

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And then, as we were cycling along one stretch while making our way back out of the forest to head for home, I spotted this mushroom while cycling past it. I had thought that it looked like a bolete. So although the hubby was already cycling far ahead of me, I quickly called out to him to let him know that I wanted to stop to check out this mushroom.

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Not far from the first mushroom, I spotted more of these mushrooms. As there are many different species of bolete mushrooms (some of which are not edible), I decided that I would pick these to bring to the mushroom inspectors to help me identify them as well.

DSCN7225AEarly the next morning, we made our first visit to the Office of Mushroom Inspectors located at the edge of the forest (in an area called ‘Boscal’) for them to assess the edibility of the mushrooms that we had gathered.

Edible mushroomsThe small loot from our first cycling cum mushroom expedition at Forêt du Jorat. As identified by the mushroom inspectors, they are : (top pictures) autumn chanterelles or tube chanterelles (craterellus tubaeformis) which I had placed separately as I was less sure of the ones on the left and as I did not want to get them mixed up; (bottom pictures) amethyst deceivers ((laccaria amethystina) on the left and red cracking bolete (boletus chrysenteron) on the right.

And yes … they are all edible! :D

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Unfortunately, when the red-cracking boletes were cut, they were found to be not in the best of condition … so that except for one young small one, the rest had to be thrown away! Regardless, I was glad to have been able to learn to identify this particular bolete even if we did not get to enjoy them.

The tube chanterelles, however, seemed to make a yummy addition in fondue … something that we were quite happy to find out  … so much so that we decided to go back to the forest the following week for another cycling cum mushroom hunting expedition! :)

Other entries on foraging in autumn:

An introduction to the mushrooms at Forêt du Jorat …

Back in early October, I was happy to have been able to take part in a guided walk at Forêt du Jorat (Forest of Jorat) to learn and to get acquainted with the various mushrooms that can be found in that forest. This little outing was one of the monthly activities organised by the Swiss nature conservation society ProNatura (which means ‘in defence of nature’ in Latin).

The guided walk was offered free of charge and the location of the guided walk, Forêt du Jorat, was at a forest familiar to me and which is only about thirty minutes away by public transport. It is a forest in which I had been wanting to go to forage for mushrooms ever since I was informed by an ex-classmate (more than two years ago) that she had found a lot of bolete mushrooms in that forest every year.

So the moment I was told by the hubby that there would be a guided walk for those interested in learning about the mushrooms growing in that forest in early October … I immediately asked him to sign us up. Missing this little outing would have meant a year of waiting for the next one … and I really did not want to have to wait another year before I could start foraging for mushrooms on my own!

SAM_0724AUnfortunately, this was how the early morning landscape had looked like … very misty and quite chilly … when we and several other fellow mushroom enthusiasts made our way to the designated meeting point near the Mauvernay Sports Centre for our date with the mushrooms at Forêt du Jorat!

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Although the presence of the strong mist would have made it difficult to look for mushrooms, I must admit that it kind of added to the excitement of my very first mushroom foraging excursion … and that it also made for lovely photo shoots! :)

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We were among the early ones who arrived on the same bus as our mushroom expert guide, or mycologist, Monsieur Bovay. We had to wait for the others to arrive before the ‘introduction to mushrooms’ walk could begin.

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Fortunately, by the time everyone had assembled (there were close to forty participants) and we could, therefore, start our hunt for mushrooms … the mist cleared up. Was that not just timely? :)

The bad news, however, was that this year had not been a good year for mushroom foraging at Forêt du Jorat. Unlike previous years when the forest had never failed to produce an abundance of edible fungi for the ardent mushroom foragers, this year has been an exception because of the erratic weather conditions.

The moment I heard that, my heart dropped. Just when I was hoping to do some serious mushroom foraging this year, it was disappointing to be told that there were not many mushrooms to be found in one of the largest forests in Switzerland … haizzz. :(

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Even more disappointing was the fact that we did not find … the bolete or bolet or porcini or cèpe or penny bun, as it might be called, which therefore means that I did not get to have my first-hand introduction to the king of mushrooms.

Nevertheless, it was not all disappointment as I was happy to be able to have some of the edible mushrooms that I had seen during those recce trips done on my own be confirmed that they were what I thought they should be (as based on my little guidebook) by our mushroom guide.

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For example, these amethyst deceiver mushrooms. Although they do not fall within the list of sought-after mushrooms, they are edible and they can be found more easily than the bolete and the chanterelles!

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The participants listening attentively to the explanation by the mycologist, Monsieur Bovay, who happens to be the President of the Mycology Society of Lausanne.

Mushrooms walk

In addition to the name of the mushroom and how to ascertain the type of the mushroom found according to various criteria such as the colour of the spores, the shape of the cap, the stem, etc, … our guide also explained the important role played by the different mushrooms in nature.

Given my mediocre grasp of the French language, I know that I missed on a lot of useful and interesting information during the explanations. Still, I was happy just to be able to join in the mushroom introductory walk … and even gamely took part in tasting a mushroom (the ones in the top picture) which we were told would taste peppery hot. It was indeed hot … but the hotness was not immediate. It came slowly after a minute or two.

ChanterelleAnother one of the edible mushrooms found during the excursion which belongs to the chanterelle family. One of the participants later found a small clump of the same mushroom a few metres away (bottom picture on the left) … and, lucky him, he got to bring home his prize find.

The chanterelle is one of the most sought-after mushrooms because of its wonderful taste … and I got my first taste of it when we found our very first chanterelle during our own mushroom forage to the same forest two weeks later!

PaxillusAlthough my mushroom guide book is really a very small book (just like its owner … hehehe … ) I was able to find every single mushroom that was found that morning inside my little guidebook … so much so that somebody even asked to see my guidebook and then realised that it was in English and not French! :)

Despite the photos in the guidebook, it cannot be stressed often enough how important it is to have someone to identify correctly the mushrooms picked and I saw this first hand during this informative walk how the mushrooms, in reality, can look totally different from the one in the picture as their shape and look are also determined by what stage the mushrooms are in.

Here in Switzerland, there are offices of mushroom controllers where mushroom foragers can bring their little loot for proper identification by qualified mycologists to avoid consuming the wrong mushrooms. This service is provided free of charge and is available daily during the mushroom foraging season from late summer until late autumn. At other periods of the year, an appointment can  be made to see the mycologist during their office hours (click here for a list of the cantonal control sites).

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To end the lovely morning excursion, a small group of us later chose to stay back and have our packed lunch at this cosy spot where earlier we had found plenty of the above mushrooms, paxillus involutus, which unfortunately is not edible!

And then two days later, I came back to the same forest for my first serious mushroom foraging for the season. Sad to say, it was not a very successful forage, in terms of the number of edible mushrooms found, that is.

Beechnuts and elderberries

However, I did come home with some other loot … some beechnuts and my first pick of elderberries for the season. :)

Other entries on foraging in autumn: