Southwark's Borough market has some lovely wild mushrooms - but which are the best? I got five funghi, fried them in a mixture of light olive oil and butter, with salt - and subjected them to analysis.
Winter chanterelle (craterellus tubaeformis)
About the mushroom: Smaller and more delicate than their meatier cousins, with a tall stem and darker flat cap.
Tasting notes: This spindly and leggy mushroom is delicate in texture and turns a bit mushy when cooked. That could be something to do with the water content - and it tastes watery too. The flavour's there and it's pleasant - but it's pretty mild. The stalk is a little stringy. Rating: 3 stars
Chanterelle (canthrellus cibarius)
About the mushroom: Also known as girolles, these chunky but tall mushrooms are an egg yolk yellow in colour and one of the commonest types of wild funghi found in shops.
Tasting notes: This surprised me. I've heard a lot of mention of this mushroom - but it don't impress me much. Its dense stem remains watery when cooked, and quite squashy inside. The flavour is more indistinct than subtle, with a slightly unpleasant bitter aftertaste. Rating: 2 stars
Wood blewit (lepista nuda)
About the mushroom: These pretty fairy-blue mushrooms are also called 'pied bleu'. This is French 'pied' as in blue, not pied as in two-coloured. They are, however, common in the UK as well.
Tasting notes: This firm, dense mushroom smells slightly sweet when frying and crisps up round the edges. It tastes remarkable - very eggy, almost like a yolky omelette. Not at all watery, it keeps a firmness - almost celery crunch - when cooked. Very impressed. Rating: 4 stars
Black Trompette (craterellus cornucopioides)
About the mushroom: Closely related to chanterelles, these black trumpets are one of the more expensive wild fungi to be found.
Tasting notes: Another very fragile fungi but its fan shape holds up ok when fried. I found it was best to cook it until slightly crisp. The flavour is classic mushroom - almost bacony or steaky - but with a slight bitter aftertaste. Rating: 3 stars
About the mushroom: The foreigner in the midst, the name of these Japanese fungi means 'wood mushroom'. Their dense texture also makes them perfect for drying.
Tasting notes: A complete different texture - almost rubbery. But the flavour is fantastic. Panfuls of umami, almost like the brown meat of a chicken, and an interesting hint of wild garlic. But because it's so firm, even after frying the mushrooms remains a little chewy. Rating: 3 1/2 stars
WINNER: Wood blewit - the underdog triumphs