You would think, living in the metropolis, that once mushroom season rolls around that it would be possible to actually find ceps somewhere. Not dried ones, not preserved ones soaked in brine, but proper, juicy, yummy, ceps.
I hear from the southwest of France that the ceps this year are more stalky and less heady than usual, perhaps due to the ‘chaleur’ of this summer. But despite this, I am told that people are enjoying them and that they are delicieuse.
With the idea of making some tarteletes aux cepes et confit I went on a mission around London to find the boletus edulis. My first stop was La Fromagerie in Marylebone, but alas, despite having some delightful, yet random, produce from time to time, no ceps. More worrying was the (ahem) North American non-Francophone service at la Fromagerie. This poor guy, doubtess used to eating the occassional button mushroom out of a Campbell’s soup tin looked around in confusion and then suggested that he had “porcini, but they’re dried.”
The next stop was the organic vegetable stop next door to the Fromagerie. Here, decidedly antipodean service were even more confused, but at least pleasant about it. Then off to Selfridges, no luck. Where next? The Japanese organic shop on the Finchley Road? Borough Market wasn’t open, this being a Tuesday, so no chance to pop by the mushroom seller there.
Ultimately, the ceps were abandonned. Metropolis? One has to wonder…