Yes, it’s mushroom season again. Each year, toward the end of October, we continue the Gohon family tradition of mushrooming in the Touraine region of France (which falls conveniently in the vicinity of France’s most beautiful chateaux overlooking the Loire River).
Judging by the number of cars parked alongside some of the large forest preserves in the area – it looks like the mushroom harvest will be exceptional. Not only that the weather predictions for a cloudy weekend with showers turns out to be totally wrong. Indian summer has returned in force. The forests are brimming with Cepes de Bordeaux, bolets, and sometimes more difficult to find, the trompettes de la mort and pied de mouton. Going mushrooming is not just about finding mushrooms but renewing acquaintances with Marinette, Bernard, Monique, Joseph, Genevieve, Jean-Pierre, Madeleine, Andre, Danie, and Alain – the inner circle of mushrooming.
It’s also about rediscovering La Chartreuse, site of a Benedictine monastery, and chapel with 12th century frescoes supposedly built by John Lackland.
In the forest, it is hard to separate history from myth, so excuse any inaccuracies. A black cat was discovered on the rooftop of our lodging and an owl hooted at midnight. One of our group wanted to know about the origins of Halloween. At the Chartreuse, rich in history and legend, it is no surprise to feel a draft of cold air at night, or the creaking wood staircase. Spirits abound.