Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fresh Porcini Mushrooms & Black Truffles directly from the farmer - Ahhhhh....... it's good to be back in Italy!!

In Europe, autumn begins tomorrow and the produce markets in Italy are brimming with the most beautiful looking, and delicious, tasting fruit & vegetables. So our arrival to our home in Citta della Pieve at midnight last night, was perfect timing to fill our baskets at this morning's Saturday market. Although our town's market is small in comparison to many others in the area, it still has food stalls that always deliver exceptional quality seasonal products which we stock up on in large quantity.
In addition to innumerable fruit & vegetables, today we purchased some huge fresh porcini mushrooms which I prepared for lunch by thickly slicing them, then frying in a little garlic infused olive oil and served with fresh thyme and cracked pepper. Simple, quick and incredibly delicious - couldn't be better really! As L would say, all knowledge is acquired, and I discovered this method of cooking them a few moths ago when we ate at our favourite restaurant in Arezzo, "Antica Osteria L'Agania" - the strong but delicate taste of the Porcini mushrooms shines through and delivers a meal so delicious it belies the simplicity of its preparation.
Then later in the day in another quest to uncover some more local knowledge, we were out driving in the Arezzo area when we came upon a little hut selling freshly gathered large black and white truffles. The aroma in the little timber cabin which is open Saturday only, was overwhelming and their product - only white or black truffles in varying sizes, had been collected directly by them the previous day - hard to beat buying directly from the farmer, particularly in the case of truffles where the length of time out of the ground diminishes the strength of the taste. We chose 2 of the large black truffles for only 15Euro, then bought fresh pasta which we simply grated the truffles over for the most amazingly delicious dinner - now that is what I call fabulous fast food! The remainder of the truffles currently sit in a jar with our eggs as we are told the aroma will seep into the porous egg shell and give us truffle tasting eggs for our omelette tomorrow morning - though with the cost and availability of fresh truffles I think we will just shave them into the omelette instead!