Wertingen Travel Blog› entry 17 of 126 › view all entries
The forest had a spongy floor that was scattered with clover, ferns, and moss. Arrow-straight pine trees towered to the sky like giant spears of asparagus blocking sunlight. Benno knew the time and place to look for mushrooms five kilometers from town. They appeared in the fall season when moisture and temperatures were just right. His skilled eye spotted them from thirty yards away while I had to practically step on them before seeing them. I was amazed at their many shapes, sizes, and colors. From the variety of well over a dozen, only two or three were edible. The most common was light brown with a classic rounded top. White pock marks from browsing insects or squirrels didn't matter. Another he gathered was white in color, about the size of a golf ball, and had the rough texture of a miniature cauliflower.
Quite pleased with our take, we quietly nursed a couple of beers that Benno had packed into the compartment under the motorbike seat. We hoped to catch sight or sound of a small deer or a wild pig. Large areas of ground had been tilled by wild pigs feeding on another, rare and prized, variety of mushroom that grew beneath the surface. But other than a few insects and several spiders, we saw no other wildlife.
We headed back toward town and made a visit to Willie's place. He was one of the last farmers in the area and had sold his few remaining cows just this past week.
Back at the house, Benno cut up the remaining mushrooms and prepared an excellent Bavarian meal by mixing them with egg, pieces of bacon, spices, and a few other vegetables from his garden. Friends came over to share in the organic feast. The every-day practicality, kindness, and generosity of the Bavarians were all admirable, especially in tough economic times.