Saturday, September 8, 2007

Wild Saison

I love the Swiss’ enthusiasm for eating seasonally. With Autumn comes ‘Wild Saison’, and all things wild dominate farmer’s markets, grocery stores and restaurant menus.

Wild boar, hirsch (an animal akin to venison), special nuts and salad greens are all beautifully presented. But what I look forward to most in my market is the wild mushrooms; Fresh Porcini, chanterelles and oysters in particular. The market tables groan beneath their squishy, fungal weight.

The Swiss could surely import asparagus from Spain, strawberries from southern Italy or avocados from Israel twelve months a year, but they never would. Maybe it is because they still eat the same way that their grandparents did (the Swiss do not like change and guard traditions fiercely), maybe it is because of the wonderful anticipation that comes with waiting for a favored season all year long, or it could possibly be because the quality takes precedent over unlimited availability. Probably it is combination of the three.

So right now we relish the wild mushrooms of autumn. Creamy oyster mushroom stroganoff, hearty beef and porcini stew, velvety mixed mushroom soup, and simple chanterelle risotto. We are enjoying them all.

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