Trompettes de la Mort in pastel by Amanda Tamsin. Note: Artistic Licence may have taken place. Do not use as a field guide…

Why a post about mushrooms and toadstools?

It was one of those moments where one idea lead to another.  Earlier in the week I came across the art challenge #artsydoodlesmarch hosted by @myartsybujo.   The drawing idea for March 5 was ‘mushrooms’.  I don’t really doodle, but thought what a great focus for my quirky pastel art!  Not only that…  If I were to draw a curious mushroom, then I might as well write a fungi-themed blog post.  I’m not sure how I’m going to blog on jackalopes and unicorns though…

Burgundy, woods, forest, France, mystical

The woods were cool and dry. The light was mysterious. All was quiet.

In Burgundy

Burgundy villagers seem to know what they’re doing when searching for mushrooms… I don’t, but I did love walking in the woods during mushroom season.  No fungi to be found in the patch where we traipsed, but the trees were enchanted and the light mystical.  Yet others knew where to go.  Some donated portions of their fantastically named ‘Trompette de la Mort’ (Trumpet of Death) and ‘Pied-de-Mouton’ (Sheep’s foot) mushrooms to us.  Other familar faces sold some to me at a vide-grenier, adding extra helpings for free. So it was all good.


Both the ‘Trompette de la Mort’ and ‘Pied-de-Mouton’ went brilliantly in an omelette cooked by Frédéric.  The black ‘Trompette de la Mort’ had a slightly peppery taste.  Before cooking them, however, we sliced them in half to remove any extra protein (little slugs or ‘limaces’) in the hollow stalk.  See the link Recette de Trompette de la Mort in Le Monde for a brief description in French (good for developing reading skills) and a recipe.

Forage with care!

Collection of fungi found and foraged in the Yonne. Not all edible!

It probably goes without saying that some fungi in the forests of France are poisonous, so if foraging take an expert with you or at least some expert knowledge!  Many pharmacies have a resident fungi specialist, but if in doubt err on the side of caution.

Supermarkets and other grocery shops are a safe bet…

You are likely to find an excellent variety of mushrooms in the shops…  Perhaps safer than buying from foragers at a vide-grenier (though I lived to tell the tale).  Lucky us living here in Kent too; they sometimes make the trip across the channel and appear in the little grocery stores in Broadstairs!

mushrooms, champignons, France

Mushrooms at Grand Frais, Yonne.

The reward of a successful forage!

What a beautiful cep! Straight out of a fairytale.

I don’t need to write much here as I don’t want to detract from the picture of this gorgeous mushroom…  For more information on the cep, including its symbiotic relationship with trees, see Boletus edulis Bull., Cep, Porcini or Penny Bun Bolete at First Nature.

Do tell us your stories of foraging too…  In the meantime, here’s one last picture of some woods…


A walk in the woods, Yonne.