Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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cep a Gascon (and now English) term which is cèpe in French, refers to some of the finest edible fungi. The Gascon word meant tree trunk; and it and ‘cèpe’ have sometimes been used as a synonym for the general term boletus, which covers a larger group of fungi, but is more properly restricted to the four species which most French authorities agree to be true cèpes.

Lemoine and Claustres (1977) define true ceps as follows. They have flesh which is white and stays white; a broad foot, sometimes as broad as the cap is wide and giving the whole cep a shape like that of a champagne cork; a handsome, hemispherical cap; and tubes which are first white, then yellow, and finally green. (These tubes, which form a spongy mass under the cap, are the most notable characteristic of the boletus group. They are quite unlike the radiating ribs of ordinary mushrooms, but serve the same function, i.e. they constitute the gills on which the spores are carried. Species other than ceps may have tubes of different coloration.)