This time last year, I started hiking in the mountains with a local
group, which involved rising at 5am. Today’s activities began at a
more civilised hour, as I drove to the nearby village of Céret
– attracted by the vide grenier (‘clear the attic’, or car boot sale,
like a flea market). Anyone who has experienced a vide grenier knows
how addictive they are – even if you aren’t looking for anything,
you always find treasure (or two…).
I was searching for a deeper ‘mushroom panier’, and instead found a
table cloth, tiny liquer glasses (for the liquer de mirabelles, mûres
and coings maturing in the cellar), and ‘rescued’ a little Virgin
Mary shrine from being trampled on.
As the afternoon began, so did the mushroom hunt for dinner, as I
ventured into the forest where the track is overgrown and arrives
in another valley. I found what I was looking for – ‘pied bleu’ which
smell a bit like raspberries and have a culinary rating of ‘three
knives and forks’ (the highest in my guidebook). I took a chance on
the others, which are in the lactaire family (they resemble ‘lactaire
à lait abondant and leak a milky substance) but turned out to be
inedible. As I didn’t need to prepare them I had time to make an
apple tart… for Sunday isn’t Dimanche without a feast.