Porcini mushrooms in Chianti, Italy

Porcini mushrooms of Chianti are not to be missed. With the exception of morilles, funghi porcini are the most delicious of the mushrooms. Try to find or buy them fresh and cook them sliced in a bit of olive oil with nipitella (a kind of catamint or catnip that grows wild in Chianti). Serve over fresh pasta. If you order them in a restaurant, do so in season (early spring and late autumn) and confirm that they’re fresh.

Porcini mushrooms in Chianti

Porcini growing under chestnut trees

Dried porcini are readily available but often come from China (despite labelling to the contrary) where another similar-looking but bitter-tasting species is mixed with or substituted for the real thing. Porcini, like other mushrooms, are nutritious, especially in terms of minerals, but they take up heavy metals, so that you should preferably know exactly where they come from (for example, NOT from slag heaps and mine tailings).

Funghi porcini on pasta

Funghi porcini with nipitella on pasta

More about how to recognise, collect and prepare funghi porcini.

Elena Spolaor

Elena Spolaor

About Elena Spolaor

Although Elena was born in Venice, she was brought up in Tuscany and is a historian and frequent contributor to online articles about life in Tuscany and Umbria. Her specialities are Tuscan and Umbrian local history and folklore.

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