France’s forests and meadows are happy hunting grounds for wild mushrooms, especially in the spring and autumn. If you are looking, remember the rules:
Mushrooms must be carried in a wicker basket. This reduces the chance of good ones mingling with bad ones and accidentally poisoning someone.
Use a knife to cut the mushroom stem. This is to allow part of the stem to survive and leave spores for future mushrooms.
Don’t forage on private property. There may also be local limits as to how many cèpes or other mushrooms each person can gather. Don’t expect any local to tell you where to find them, either— that’s top secret information!
If you are in doubt about a mushroom, take it to a pharmacy and ask. Every year roughly 1000 people get seriously ill from eating poisonous mushrooms because some bad ones closely resemble the good ones. Don’t take the risk; French pharmacists are trained to know.
I’ve included the most common edible ones; for more details see the Atlas de Champignons (in French).
Image by Jjpetite, Creative Commons License