A tour through La Cave des Roches
In the middle of France’s glorious summer, Katie Reynolds-Da Silva took a magical trip through the labyrinthine La Caves de Roches – known for producing some of the world’s finest and most sought-after mushrooms.
Situated in In Bourré, France, the Cave des Roches is the only cellar in the world to cultivate a wide variety of mushrooms 50 metres underground. The farm covers 120 kilometres of mushroom galleries spread over seven floors. Excavation in the quarries began around 2000 years ago, and the Tuffeaux stone can be found in many of the castles in the Loire region. It was discovered that the resulting tunnels provide the ideal environment for mushrooms.
The traditional cultures bloom in their natural atmosphere at an unwavering 12°C throughout the year, and allows the mushrooms to obtain an incomparable flavour.
The total production amounts to more than 100 tonnes of mushrooms a year, gathered entirely by hand. Specializing in high-end mushrooms, Cave des Roches has a range of various mushrooms – pied bleu, shii také, pleurote, arvensis, champignon de Paris d’autrefois, and more.
La Cave des Roches produces 40% of the world’s Blue Feet mushrooms, mainly for French starred and gourmet restaurants, but they are also exported to New York, Tokyo, London, Geneva, and to new markets in Europe and Canada.
The tour lasts approximately one hour and includes a walk through the Underground City. The Underground City is an audacious endeavour; the family is working on a hand-carved reproduction of rural French life, complete with homages to ancient trades, such as farming, masonry, baking and rudimentary mechanics. When complete, the Underground City will be sealed off and preserved for future generations – almost as a time capsule that seeks to educate our progeny (and forthcoming generations) about the French way of life, untouched by technology or politics.
At the end of the visit, the shop will welcome you to discover its range of homemade products, souvenirs and other regional specialities.