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Reg hack goes in search of the elusive food of emperors

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Following a mild and wet start to autumn, and reports of a bumper mushroom crop, myself and daughter Katarina armed ourselves with a really big field guide, assembled the mutt pack and headed off into the woods.

The reports were correct. Within half an hour we'd stumbled across Amanita caesaria (Caesar's mushroom) - an unmistakable delicacy:

Three Amanita caesarea in the wild

Two Amanita caesaria

Amanita caesaria is evidently named for the Roman emperors, including Claudius, who apparently ranked it top nosh. Poor old Claudius's penchant for some hot 'shroom action ultimately proved his undoing, as we'll see.

Having scored some caesaria, we were on a roll. The next day, Katarina found the first Boletus edulis (penny bun) we'd ever seen in the village:

Katarina with a couple of Boletus edulis

This is technically described as "a right result". Anyone wondering just why the penny bun is so desirable is directed to the price of a ración (medium-sized plate) of Boletus in one of our favourite hostelries...

Kati in a local bar indicating the price of 12 euros for a small plate of Boletus

...and here's Kati tucking into what probably represents around €4 of our own edulis, lovingly fried in a little olive oil with crushed garlic by bar owner Antonio:

Katarina tucks in to a plate of Boletus

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