Le Ban de la Roche is an excellent base for mushroom foraging, from Morels in the spring to a wide variety of autumnal species, including ceps/porcini from August onwards. Truffles are also found in Haute Savoie, although we can’t guarantee success! We love mushrooming so would be happy to provide suggestions for closeby spots, depending on the time of year and weather conditions, where we have been successful.
In the autumn, it is also possible to enroll in mushroom foraging courses, usually run on the nearby Semnoz, and organised by the local mycology association.
As always, you should never eat any mushrooms if you are not completely certain they are edible. Mushroom foraging is very popular in France, and you can take mushrooms into any pharmacy, where the pharmacists (who are required to study mycology as part of their training) are required to help with identification. In our experience, they love advising! The pharmacy in nearby Menthon-St-Bernard (4km away) is always happy to help.
There are also plenty of excellent guidebooks (we have several in the house), apps and online resources, e.g.
Haute Savoie has plenty of woodlands and, in our experience, a wider variety of mushrooms than is found in areas such as the UK. Some of our favorite edible mushrooms that we have found locally include:
- Penny Bun (Boletus edilus)
- Bay Bolete (Boletus badius)
- Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum)
- Common Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) - although we don’t usually eat these, but the kids like stamping on them to release the spore clouds!
- Charcoal Burner (russula cyanoxantha). Locals tend to eshew russulas, but we think they are wonderful fried in button or in an omelette
- Hedgehog Fungus (Hydnum repandum).Known as Pied de Mouton (sheep’s foot in French) these are simply divine fried!
- Horn of Plenty (Craterellus cornucopioides). Sinisterly known as Trompette de la Mort (death trumpet) in French, these are very distinctive and easy to identify and a wonderful addition to pretty much any dish.
- Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus comatus)
- Dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus). We dry then powder these. A great addition to stews and casseroles, with a distinctive, peppery flavour
- Goliath webcap (Cortinarius praestans). Textbooks have it that this species is quite rare, but we’ve found it frequently. It grows to 20cm wide, so you don’t need many to fill a basket! We peel, cube then boil big ones. They can then be frozen and added to stews - delicious!