Mountains of Mushrooms: AHA alum Emma Greenlees gets a taste of Italy in London

From Porcini to Trumpet, I’ve long been a fan of mushrooms. And so have the Italians. A staple ingredient in their ever-popular fayre, the selection of mushrooms used by the Italians is often far superior to our own, solely closed-cup tendencies.

Carluccio’s has established itself as one of the top Italian food chains in the country, and its Brunswick branch is rightly popular. This September, however, instead of offering a seasonal menu or featuring a local Italian Artist the restaurant decided to pull fifty or so chairs out of service and to set up, instead, a Mushroom Market for the shoppers and workers of Russell Square.

It’s touch unconventional to hear market-heckles of “Oil, Oil, Lemon Oil” at 2 p.m. on a rainy Friday, or to see the usual Waitrose groceries replaced with tubs of black truffles, but makes a welcome change. It’s so rare to have a freshly-prepared risotto available 5 steps from your place of work, but even more welcome than that were the beautiful mountains of mushrooms that were piled onto the tables.

Markets are tragically rare in England, and even though London has one of the best selections (Borough, Smithfields, Columbia Road, Camden, Spitalfields…) they are often out of the way and inconvenient to get to. This one, however, was a treat (as was seeing Mr. Carluccio smoking his cigarette along with his espresso whilst signing books), and a very accessible one at that.

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