The, is one of the finest edible wild mushrooms and is highly regarded by chefs and mushroom connoisseurs. This popular species also goes by the names Penny Bun and King Bolete in English, Porcino in Italian, Steinpilz in German, and Cèpe in French. Young Ceps have thick stems and fat caps while older Ceps exhibit much flatter caps and may appear to be a completely different variety. While fresh Cep mushrooms are usually hard to come by, they are available dried at many supermarkets and farmers markets.
The Cep is native to the Northern Hemisphere and is only found in the wild, but it has been introduced to various areas in the Southern Hemisphere as well, such as Australia and South America. In terms of appearance, the stems are typically pale in color while the cap can take on pretty much any shade of brown, ranging from a very light tan to a dark reddish brown. The harvest season for this fungus extends from the summer to the fall and once dried, this sought-after mushroom has a shelf life of 18 months.
Naturally grown in the ground in broad-leaved and coniferous forests, this fungus has a symbiotic relationship with the roots of shrubs and trees. In other words, the mushroom helps the plants obtain important nutrients and vice-versa. This complex mutualistic relationship makes fresh Ceps very difficult to find, nearly impossible to cultivate, and more expensive to purchase than other exotic mushrooms. In cooking, dried Cep mushrooms add a sort of richness and intensity to the dish that can’t be replicated with just any type of ingredient. Low in calories and packed with fiber, protein, and minerals, Ceps are not only delicious, but also very nutritious.
In addition to fresh we also stock dried Ceps, which maintain their earthy flavor and can even become tastier in the drying process. To prepare dried Ceps, submerge them in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes, drain them, and then use them as if they were fresh. That is, grill them, throw them into a stew, layer them on top of a meat dish or seafood, toss them into risotto, scatter them on a pizza, and so on. The relatively high protein content of this species compared to other dried mushrooms makes Ceps a great addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.