Picking Truffles in Calabria: Another Homeless Smurf

On Saturday afternoon, P and his friends went hunting tartufi (truffles) in the mountains that surround us. Other than a ton of rainbows, the sprouting of delicious mushrooms is another great side effect to all the rain we’ve been getting. While normal funghi hunting, e.g., for porcini, occurs in the fall and winter, our black truffles are just getting good around this time.

Ah, yes, I should point out that we only have black truffles down here as the white, expensive, sacred ones are further north in more famous white truffle country.

So how did we do? Well, no luck on the tartufi this time, but P did find a rather unique ‘shroom that he brought home for me. Have I mentioned he’s always bringing me something?

This is actually a porcino, well out of season, and just cute as a button (about that small as well). So if you want to start up a collection or something, it would seem that we’ve just created another homeless Smurf*.

And you thought Gargamel was nasty.

*In Italian, the Smurfs are called “I Puffi.

From Wikipedia: Italian: puffi (singular: puffo), the name has been reinvented from scratch because in Italian language the “schtroumpf” or (in Italian spelling strumpf) reminds speakers of the Italian word “stronzo,” literally meaning ‘piece of excrement.’ Note that the dialect word ‘strunz‘ is even closer to ‘strumpf.’ The fantasy name “puffi” is derived from the word “buffi” (singular: buffo, as in opera buffo) a word meaning at same time “funny” and “strange.”

18 Beans of Wisdom to “Picking Truffles in Calabria: Another Homeless Smurf”
  1. Sharon

    Do they sell Puffi Gelato in Calabria? They have it here….blue gelato!

  2. Ninotchka

    You crack me up. “homeless smurf” HA HA HA Man, I loved the Smurfs back in the day! Thanks for the smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. sognatrice

    Sharon, oh my goodness, that may have been what the gelato guy was saying to Cherrye and me that day in Catanzaro…the gelato was bright blue, and now that you mention it, it sounded like “puffi!” (I thought “buffi” at the time, but that made zero sense.)

    Cherrye, dove sei???

    He let us try it, and it was horrible, btw.

    Ninotchka, I suppose one shouldn’t joke about being homeless, but being that they are cartoons, this is OK, right?

    La, la, la la la la…..

  4. KC

    Great. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the evening trying to remember things like what Gargamel’s cat was named, while the theme song plays over and over in my mind.

  5. sognatrice

    KC, can’t do much about getting the theme song out of your head, but, um, Azrael, if it helps ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick

    That is so funny about the Smurfs! I guess I thought they were just an American thing. I STILL have my near full set of the Smurf figures, complete with their mushroom houses. I pull them out every now and then for my niece and nephews to play with. ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. cheeky

    I thought it was a cork at first? A very uniquely shaped and coloured one. I know, I know, but I can’t see very well. I’m still with the swollen eye!P is sweet to bring you little treasures.

  8. Cherrye

    Oh my goodness, we tried SMURF-flavored gelato…I’ll never be the same again. Man, it WAS horrible, wasn’ it?

    I had a teacher in Jr. High who thought the Smurfs were demons and wouldn’t let us even talk about them. We, I mean, uh, the “other kids” used to hum the song ever so softly in class.

  9. goodthomas

    Sorry, the Smurfs always kind of creeped me out and as a matter of fact, mushrooms did the same thing for me, for many years. Only now, am I starting to appreciate them. Mushrooms, that is, not Smurfs.

    Loved your April Fools Day joke. I sensed something was not quite right in the words of your post and then was pleasantly justified when viewing the comments. I am glad, of course.

  10. Anonymous

    there is a daycare centre near us (in fact, probably the one Sofia will go to!) that is called ‘Puffilandia’. It’s sort of a fake looking castle with cermic smurfs (about twice the size of garden gnomes) all around the top. Looks HILARIOUS….

    BTW what was smurfette called here then? Puffa?


  11. Ally Bean

    Oh, I think that I Puffi is a much better name for Smurfs, than Smurf. What a fun fact to know. You never know when it might come in handy in casual conversation!!

  12. Shan

    Smurfs! I loved the smurfs. Thanks!

  13. jessica

    stroumphs! they have a similar word in french here, though i don’t know how to spell it. they use it as a verb now in common speach, and it can replace any verb at any time!!

  14. Susan in Italy

    The mushroom is just adorable. Did it taste good? I didn’t know about the puffi but it makes all the sense in the world. Can you imagine one kid calling the other a schtrompf in Italian?! It’s just too dangerous.

  15. sognatrice

    Christina, Shannon, I *loved* the Smurfs. They’re probably the only reason I used to get up on Saturday mornings (other than the Muppet Babies, of course).

    Cheeky, I can see the cork resemblance, and I sort of have two good eyes (good as they’re going to get without surgery, that is).

    Cherrye, that’s too funny about your teacher! And yes, now we know that Smurfs taste horrible (I’ll not make any lewd comments here even though something about Smurfette has invaded my mind!).

    Goodthomas, I’ll give you that the Smurfs are creepy, but mushrooms! No! You must get over that!

    Vanessa, just wow. I mean, not surprising, but I mean Puffilandia? What *will* they think of next? I don’t know what Smurfette is called; Puffa’s a good guess. Any moms or native Italians know for sure?

    Ally, yes, you can definitely store this info and bring it up when someone least expects it. I should point out for sake of thoroughness that “I Puffi” is pronounced “ee poof-ee.” You know, just to clear.

    Jessica, ooh, so it’s a French thing too? Well smurf’s me!

    Susan, we didn’t actually eat the little guy, so he’s still sitting here nearby. But yes, Italian playgrounds everywhere are thankful for the name change, I’m sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Kristen

    That is a neat looking shroom. It almost looks like a champagne cork!

  17. sognatrice

    Aha! So you’re seeing the cork too, Kristen!

    Phew ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. [...] mentioned before that one of P’s favorite pastimes is going mushroom picking. Incidentally, one of... bleedingespresso.com/2009/11/love-thursday-the-loveshroom-fest.html
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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