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'Shroom Town

Hunt for chanterelles in the Catskills

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There is in each of us at least 500,000 years' worth of hunter-gatherer DNA whose lust is not satisfied by a Visa rampage at the mall. To go into the woods, seek sustenance in the wild, and find it -- all contribute to the lure of mushroom hunting. Starting in May with the first morels and continuing through August when the chanterelles pop amid the shade in the hot summer forest, mushroom gathering is a fine way to get into nature; the New York Mycological Society sponsors talks and walks throughout the year. There is marvelous mushroom hunting to be had in the Catskills, and one of the nicest places to stay while doing it is La Duchesse Anne in Mount Tremper. Martine Gaudet, the proprietor, is a fungus enthusiast -- if you come home empty-handed, the chef at her restaurant will prepare some mushrooms from the larder as the centerpiece of a fine French meal. But pay attention to your NYMS classes: Mushrooms delight the palate, but they can poison you as well. But then again, so can a jealous mate.

DETAILS NYMS, 212-962-6908 or members.aol.com/nymycology; La Duchesse Anne, 914-688-5260 (rooms from $60).


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