Ceps? Why are there no ceps?

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…

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5 Responses to Ceps? Why are there no ceps?

  1. Why not go find your own?

    My local forest has turned out no more then a handful this year, however on my recent trips to both the Yorkshire Moors and Scotland, they were out in abundance.

    Of course, when picking, any Cep relative (from the Boletus family) is just as delicious.

  2. Stephen says:

    Ah, Scotland… the following message arrived in my Inbox on September 25th from Leven (in Fife, near St Andrews), suggesting that there’s mushrooms galore to be picked up there:

    “Serious fungus going on, just picked some penny buns / ceps / boletus on the way home under birch trees and I intend to put some on toast the morras morn. This could be my last missive.”

  3. Aidan Brooks says:

    Try your local farmers’ market. Ceps, or porcini as they are known here, are available in my local Saturday market – Broadway market in Hackney. Also available in good supermarkets, although quality variable and price extortionate.

  4. GGLondon says:

    Aidan – thanks mate. I’m not sure at which point in town ceps become porcini, but I suppose it’s all the same after all. I did find some, thankfully, although outrageously expensive. However, some are being sent up from France this week, so, 🙂 happiness.

    Happy cooking – GG

  5. sam says:

    how about carluccios
    he’s the mushroom man
    i am sure the covent garden store used to sell them
    you could call them and ask – he would know
    otherwise i bet selfridges or harrods food hall might have them (at a price of course)

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