Gourmet appetizer with Ceps mushrooms: A walk in Bearn’s forests
Appetizers with ceps are tasty and generous, you’ll find all undergrowth flavours from which are gathered these small mushrooms. The whole taste of freedom of a walk in a terrine, as fine as the morning dew when bays boletus are growing.
Spreading Appetizers with ceps on toasted and garlic rubbed country bread is like tasting the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, when days become hot and sunny after rain, the small ceps stick to oaks’ foot or chestnut trees.
Listen, you hear the birds singing, higher up in the foliage. Breath, you feel the fern, the pines, the acrid earth, imagine the mushrooms’ velvet like a caress under your fingers….
Ingredients: lean and pork throat, 35% pork liver, egg, 5%ceps cooked in peanut oil salt, pepper, garlic
Weight: 6.35 oz
Storage: 3 years (at room temperature)
100% French, no preservatives, additives or colourings
France, cradle of modern mycology:
Mushrooms have been part of the human diet since the beginning of time. Mushrooms have always been relatively accessible, and although some of them have poisonous properties, when the hunger pangs get too great there have always been people willing to experiment with them.
We know that pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas used certain mushrooms in their rituals, and there is extensive literature from classical cultures such as the Persians and Greeks speaking of the virtues of these delicacies. However, with the expansion of Rome, and particularly with the Dark Ages, suspicion of mushrooms made them not only an undesirable food, but even a persecuted one.
The influence of the Catholic Church meant that many herbal practices and traditions, including mycological knowledge, were considered witchcraft, which meant that mushroom consumption was limited to animals or very poor families, a far cry from their status as a delicacy in classical Greece.
Although the renewed interest in science of the Renaissance would begin to recover some knowledge of mushrooms, it was the French court of the 17th century that showed real interest in the humble fungi. For the first time, mycology was not associated with the common people, but was considered a high-class food for use in the kitchens of the powerful.
This interest in the ingredient caused mycology to become a truly scientific discipline in the 18th century. It was also in France that, as well as encouraging the harvesting of wild mushrooms, the deliberate cultivation of mushrooms began, which would become an iconic ingredient in French cuisine.