Ever since my parents' Europe trip in 2007, my mother expressed a need to try Porcini Mushrooms. As a mushroom-lover, I thought trying porcini mushrooms would be like a food pilgrimage, so on my recent trip to Europe, I decided to hunt them down.
I looked in major department stores in Barcelona, Belgium and Berlin and had little luck with finding these fungi that were held in such esteem by my parents. My friends who I visited in these cities did their best in offering help in my quest to find these magical wonders... I had no luck until I reached LONDON. I walked through the huge carpeted royal-like hall, that houses the department store Fortnum and Mason. People had just finished work and were spending like 5 pounds (9 ish AUD) on a loaf of bread, 10 pounds (18 ish AUD) for two pieces of smoked salmon and who knows what for those black truffles. In glowing light, I came across jars of Baby Porcini Mushrooms. For a moment, it seemed that they were waiting for me just like how two lovers wait for one another for a good portion of their lives (bahaha). Ignoring the price, I didn't hesitate to buy them... I cushioned them into my luggage and they were on their happy way through Hong Kong to Sydney.
I am sad to say that these mushrooms weren't as life-changing as I hoped. They were preserved in olive oil, vinegar and chilli and this concoction overcame the earthy taste of the mushrooms. In fact, my mother and I enjoyed the olive oil mixture with bread purchased from Woolies much more than the mushrooms... Maybe I'll have better luck next time. Maybe we can purchase dried porcini mushrooms for use in a risotto?