edulis) is a highly regarded mushroom known by many names,
including Porcini (in Italy), King Bolete, Cèpe
(in France), Hrib
or Mântarc (in Romania) and Steinpilz
Its scientific name, Boletus, from the Latin stem bolet-, meaning
"Superior Mushroom" and edulis, meaning edible, goes far in describing
the qualities of this mushroom.
cap of Porcini is 7-30 cm broad at maturity, and mostly reddish-brown
fading to white in areas near the margin; the color continues to darken as it
matures. The stalk is 8-25 cm in height, and up to 7 cm thick-- rather
large in comparison to the cap. The pores, which do not stain when bruised,
are white in youth, fading to yellow and then to brown with age. Fully mature
specimens can weigh about 2 pounds (1 kg). However, the most appreciated
by gourmet are the young small porcini, as the large ones often have worms and
insect inside, and they become slimy and less tasty with age.
edulis can be found solitarily or in groups most commonly in western Europe,
western North America, and worldwide.
Its habitat consists of areas dominated by pine, spruce, and fir trees. Not limited to these locations,
the King Bolete is also found in hardwood forests containing oaks. It fruits from
summer to autumn, following sustained rainfall.
the name implies, Boletus edulis is edible, and most people consider
it superior in flavor and in texture. It is described as nutty and slightly meaty,
with a smooth, creamy texture. Porcini is eaten and enjoyed raw, sautéed
with butter, ground into pasta, in soups, and
in many other dishes.
are many different kinds of porcini mushrooms, some edible, and some poisonous.
In France the three most popular edible ones are:
- Bordeaux Porcini (cèpe de
Bordeaux), scientific name: Boletus edulis. This is the most well known
porcini, and it is very appreciated by gourmets.
Head (tête de nègre), scientific name: Boletus aereus. This one
is more rare than the Boletus edulis, and it is by far the most appreciated
by gourmets, as well as the most expensive. Usually smaller than the Boletus
edulis, it is also distinctively darker in colour.
tree Porcini (cèpe des pins), scientific name: Boletus pinophilus
or Boletus pinicola. This one grows among pine trees. Its pores are characteristically
bright yellow. It is less appreciated by gourmets than the two other kinds of
porcini, but still remains a mushroom ranking above most other mushrooms.
with all mushrooms, the Porcini should be inspected for insects as flies
are often found throughout the mushroom.