And it’s back down to earth with a bump – I’m just back from three indulgent weeks with Taste Cook Travel in my beloved Italy and it’s Day 2 at home and already I’m missing so much of their food-centric lifestyle.   We plan our food tours to be there in Autumn because harvest is such a busy, fascinating time.  And of course it means we’re there for the eagerly anticipated arrival of the prized porcini mushrooms.

We lunched at my favourite trattoria in Siena, just off the main square, Osteria La Logge.  They are so proud of their porcini here, they display them like art, in a beautiful basket for all to admire on their front counter.  Large, plump, earthy mushrooms, with that pungent aroma that wakes your taste buds, with a jolt.

I asked the waiter how the porcini were to be cooked, and he fetched the basket with pride, bringing it to the table for me to choose one.   It was then taken directly to the kitchen, sliced and immediately tossed into a hot pan of melted butter, plated and returned to me, steaming and aromatic – a plate of pure joy.