Tuscany, 23 October – Wild mushrooms in Italy are considered a real delicacy and the Porcini mushroom is king amongst all wild mushrooms. Famous for its meaty texture as well as its rich earthy and nutty flavour, Porcini mushrooms work well in many local stews, sauces and most notably in mushroom risotto.
The season in Italy varies a little from year to year depending on the weather and the region. Rain or damp conditions followed by warmth and sun is ideal porcini weather. The autumn period of mid September and late October in the central Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia-Romagna is prime Porcini mushroom season. They are also found in the Northern Italian regions of Piemonte, Alto Adige and Veneto.
Porcini mushrooms are traditionally found at the foot of chestnut and pine trees. During the season mushroom hunting is a favourite pastime for locals who either use them for themselves in cooking or sell them to local Restaurants or at market. Secret growing spots are safely guarded by locals and can sometimes be past down from father to son or mother to daughter.
A large basket of fresh porcini on display near the entrance of a restaurant or local trattoria, as in this photo from our visit to Lucca on this years Best of Tuscany, Umbria & Le Marche Tour, is a good indication the traveler will have a very positive porcini dining experience.