The Penny Bun, Boletus edulis
Boletus Edulis, also known as the Penny Bun, Porcini, Cepe or Cep, needs very little introduction, as it is, without a doubt, one of the tastiest mushrooms you'll ever find, and a king of the edible mushroom world. It is found mostly in deciduous woodland, often in association with Beech, Oak or Pine. Although this mushroom is quite common, there is often only a small window of opportunity to find them due to a short fruiting season. This makes them quite elusive, if you don't know when and where to look!
This large, bulbous mushroom is a member of the Bolete genus of mushrooms, which means it has pores on the underside of the cap instead of gills. These pores are white when young, turning more yellow as it matures. The cap is white when very young, turning a rich, dark chestnut brown, later. It often resembles a crusty roll, which is where it gets in English common name. On some specimens, a pale white ring or "halo" can develop along the cap edge. The flesh is firm and white, yellowing with age, with a lovely mushroom aroma. The thick and bulbous stem of the Cep is pale white, turning more yellow-tan with age. It is covered with a thin net-like pattern (called reticulation) that is usually confined to the top third, but can sometimes extend all the way down, the stem.
It could be confused with the Summer Cep (Boletus reticulatus) and the Pine Bolete (Boletus pinophilus), but both of these are equally delicious. One other lookalike is the Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus), whilst this mushroom isn't poisonous, it will ruin any dish you mistakenly add it to. It differs slightly in the web like reticulation on the stem, but the easisest way to test for this is to give the cap a little nibble - if it's super bitter, then it's not a Cep!
Arthur found this rather large specimen at the base of a huge pine, after I'd already walked right past it. Sometimes, having a toddler-shaped truffle pig comes in very handy!
Penny Bun Checklist
🌳 Deciduous woodland.
🌲 Coniferous Woodland.
🔗 Found in Association with Beech, Oak or Pine.
🌞🍂 Mostly between August and September. Can be found into October.
📈 Grows singly, in small clusters, and sometimes rings.
🍄 Bulbous, but flatteing out as it matures, up to 20cm wide. Starting white, it becomes a deep chestnut brown with age, often developing a white "halo" around the edges. 3-10 cm wide.
⚛️ None, has white pores on the underside of the caps, turning yellow with age.
♊️ Thick, bulbous, firm, and whitish, turning more tan with age. 15-20 cm tall. Has a net like pattern of reticulation, usually on the top third, but can extend the whole length of the stem.
⚪️ White, firm. Turning more yellowish with age.
Aroma / Taste
👃 Smells very pleasant and mushroomy.
👅 One of the best edible mushrooms available and the flavour intensifies significantly with drying.
😋 Choice Edible - Utterly Delicious!
🟨 ID Difficulty - Novice
👀 The pale halo, white flesh and reticulation on the stem are key identifiers.
👃 The delicious mushroomy smell is a key identifier.
✅ This mushroom could be confused with the Summer Cep (Boletus reticulatus) and the Pine Bolete (Boletus pinophilus), but both of these are edible and equally delicious.
⛔️ Could also be confused with the Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus), which is extremely bitter, but not toxic. Nibbling a bit of the cap is the best way to tell the difference - if it's horridly bitter, it's not a Cep!
🍄 Fungi - Used in mushroom recipes. Can be eaten raw.