Fungi never fail to keep me guessing. Usually at this time of year I am out and about in search of St George’s Mushooms (so called because they traditionally come out on St George’s Day, which was 5 days ago). I made no effort at all this year, because there are very few records in West Wales, and none at all in our part of Ceredigion (we moved here last summer from Sussex). And so I was absolutely delighted to find some this morning, by the side of a footpath no more than 20 metres from where our main drive meets the public road. The downside is now I am going to have to spend considerable time trying to find out where else they grow around here!
For any readers not already familiar with this famous mushroom, it is very safe to collect at this time of the year, because so there is very little chance of confusion with dangerous lookalikes. You do need to be aware of the Livid Pinkgill (Entoloma sinuatum), which can looks similar and occasionally fruits in spring, but the smell of that mushroom is much less pleasant — it smells more like cleaning fluid than the melon rind smell of St George’s.
As for what to do with them….their strong taste means they pair well with strong-tasting partners such as offal or oily fish. They also work with goose and duck eggs. Speaking of which…our first three domestic ducks are teenagers now (more due to hatch tomorrow). Sadly for my hopes of St George’s and duck eggs they are not laying yet, and we now know that two of them are drakes. Doubtless St George’s mushrooms would make a fine accompaniment to roast duck too.