But being British I managed to find a silver lining to the clouds: for the first time I have been picking one of my favourite fungi here, chicken of the woods. I was driving along and there it was growing on one of the oak trees that line the man-made lakes near Trebon. I stopped the car, quarter filled a carrier bag in a few minutes and went my way. One night I ate it schnitzel style with lemon juice and the night before I used my favourite chicken of the woods recipe – risotto. The rest is in the freezer, as this fungi freezes without loss of texture and flavour.
I was telling a Czech friend about it and she sighed. “We Czechs do not eat it,” she said. “You British are much more adventurous.” She couldn't be further from the truth – most Brits wouldn't dare pick any wild fungus, let alone eat it. I am an exception from that rule. But then I suppose having broken the British "don't eat any wild mushrooms" taboo, I don't have any of the Czech prejudices either, including the one against fungi that grow on trees. All the more for me then!