This time of year, with the right weather, there is an added incentive other than the beauty, peace and quiet of the woods. There are wild mushrooms.
I first was introduced to the sport of mushroom hunting back thirty years ago, as a lad living in France for a year. Where I was, mushroom hunting was not just a hobby, but a passion. Just about everybody did it. The enthusiasm was contagious, and I certainly caught the bug.
So you can imagine how delighted I was after moving to the Sunshine Coast to discover that this area is extremely rich in wild mushrooms. And unlike France, where everyone being out hunting made for fierce competition, here almost no one bothers. I guess they go down to the farmers' market in Vancouver and buy them for $25 a pound!
These days, I don't go to the greedy extremes that I used to when we first moved here. Back then, I'd hunt everyday, long hours, and pack the freezer with bags and bags of them. Now I just gather a few for our dinner, and somehow that's better.
I've also started introducing friends to this pleasant hobby (yes, don't worry, I warn them in no uncertain terms that they must be with me or someone else who really knows the good from the evil-- with pleasant little guys like the Death Angels lurking about).
I've been trying out a few new recipes. The best one I have found so far this year is yukon gold potato and wild mushroom gratin with blue cheese. With 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream, and lots of cheese, truly decadent, and also truly superb.