Porcini mushrooms, of the Boletus family, have been known for centuries to grow in the area of Borgotaro in the Apennines near Parma. They appear in a document written by Alberto Clemente Cassio (1669-1760) in which he states: “… la terra di questi monti partorisce… nell’autunno inodorati boleti… [essi] sono di non tenue vantaggio alle donne, che li raccolgono e vendono e, conditi con sale, li trasmettono ad altri Paesi” (odorless mushrooms appear here in this area during the fall … and they are collected and sold by women, seasoned with salt, and taken to other countries). Since 1928, the porcini mushrooms have been protected by the city.
The local government established a specific bi-weekly market for the sale of this product, which is usually sold dried. The fresh mushrooms are sold the same day they are foraged from the forest. In 1964, the first institution was founded to monitor the collection of forest flora, including mushrooms. Over the course of a few years, all of the Communes of the Apennine Mountain region created similar organizations. Today, porcini mushroom collection and sales are overseen by the Consorzio del Fungo Porcino di Borgotaro, which has also created the “Strada del Fungo Porcino,” a food and wine path leading you through the area in search of the best products.
Porcini mushrooms can be preserved in various ways: dried, under oil or frozen. There are thousands of recipes calling for each type
The IGP (Protected Geographic Indication) protects certain types of fresh Boletus mushrooms found in the hardwood and coniferous forests in the communes of Borgo Val di Taro, Albareto (PR) and Pontremoli (MS): Boletus aestivalis, locally called “rosso” (red) or “fungo del caldo” (hot weather mushroom); Boletus pinicola, called “moro”(dark); Boletus aureus, called “magnan” and Boletus edulis, called “fungo del freddo” (cold weather mushroom).
Famous chefs seem to find infinite uses for porcini mushrooms and served them as an appetizer up to a second course: under oil, sautéed, grilles, raw in thin slices with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano on top, or in sauce for tagliatelle, with tortelli and with potato gnocchi.