* Porcini: Porcini (or “little pigs” ) is the Italian term for the same mushroom as the French version Cepes. Porcini impart rich, deep flavor to game and poultry dishes and sauces
* Chanterelles: Often called “little goblets”. They are dainty and reddish yellow, with a cup shape and a slight apricot taste.
* Girolles: These golden mushrooms sparkle in forests of deciduous trees. They are delicately shaped, reminding us of morning glories; lovely sautéed in an omelet.
Morels: These are the only fungus to approach the intensity or bouquet of the truffle. After soaking, saute long and slowly.
* Orange Mushrooms: Also, Caesar’s mushroom. Reddish with yellow gills; excellent flavor.
* Oyster Mushrooms: White and delicate, these mushrooms are often called “weepers” because of the liquid they produce when sautéed fresh.
Trompettes Des Morts (Horns of Plenty): These black, trumpet-shaped mushrooms traditionally bordered the vineyards of France. Softened in wine and stuffed into meats, dried trompettes give a taste that suggests truffles.
Truffles: The most highly prized of earth’s edible fungi. They have a delicate and mysterious flavor. They have always been expensive, and must be eaten fresh if all the fuss is to make sense. Dark, rich truffles are hunted in France, largely in the Perigord, an ancient region where the truffle was once considered a pest. They grow under oak trees and are hunted in the fall with trained hounds or pigs that have been given food mixed with truffles.
In the late fall and winter they are available fresh in this country, and, though expensive, their penetrating flavor makes them go a long way. Truffles are also sold whole in cans or jars, infused in oils, in creams, chopped, and pureed.
Italian white truffles from Piedmont are more pungently flavored than the black and equally expensive. It is delicious to have one finely shaved over a dish of pasta or scrambled eggs; the truly devoted slice them and warm them briefly in butter.