Fantastic culinary treasures… Mushrooms
October has arrived with unpredictable weather and some of nature’s most fantastic culinary treasures. With the colder and wetter weather, mushrooms grow wild in the forest of Catalonia. But the markets in Barcelona can also provide you with some amazing varieties!
Searching for mushrooms in the forest during the autumn season is a very traditional thing to do for many Catalan families. People drive into the Pyrenees to spend a day searching for and gathering these treasures. Children from families who dedicate time to this activity learn about the different types of mushrooms and the best spots to find them from a very young age. This knowledge is passed down through generations. The people who hunt for mushrooms and have the skills and knowledge needed to find and pick the right ones are called “Boletaires”. In the country side of Spain, around 175 different types of edible mushrooms can be found.
Going out to find your own mushrooms in nature can be tricky though. You have to know exactly which ones are eatable and which ones are not. Apart from many amazing and delicious types there are also around 50 types of poisonous mushrooms in Europe. And often the edible ones grow right next to the poisonous ones. Since the activity of mushroom foraging has become more and more popular here in Catalonia over the years, the cases of people with food poisoning from eating the wrong mushrooms has also increased. There is now even a website by the Catalan government about the different types of mushrooms you can find in the forests.
However, if you like mushrooms but you don’t want to risk getting food poisoning, not to worry. The markets in Barcelona are now full of mushrooms in all shapes, colours and sizes. From bright yellow to the blackest of black, called “Trompetas de la mort” (“trumpets of death”). You can find it all. If you venture into any market you will find a wide range of types that are delicious in a nice pasta dish, to accompany a meat dish or in an omelette. So if you are keen to prepare a nice dish in your apartment while holidaying in Barcelona, and it’s mushroom season, do get adventurous and try something new!