The late summer rains mark the end of the warm season, but also the beginning of another season: the Mushroom Season! The forests in Catalonia, from North to South, suffer from a particular foreign species invasion in September and October: the invasion of Mushroom Hunters!
Catalonia has a rooted tradition in mushroom hunting. The rains of the beginning of fall, make mushrooms flourish in the wet forests and many people get equipped for the occasion. They put on their boots, grab their baskets and prepare themselves to enjoy a day on the bushes hoping to go back home with their hands full of rovellons, ceps, llenegues or gírgoles, the most popular mushroom edible species.
Mushroom hunting requires a lot of patience and some knowledge and expertise. Not all the mushrooms in the woods are edible, but some of them are toxic, so it is essential to know which should not be picked. The pulling up itself also requires a special technique. The experts say they must be cut from the stem leaving the base on the ground in order to let them flourish the following year.
The most popular areas for mushroom hunting are the forests in Central Catalonia. The locals of the region have the knowledge of the particular areas where most mushrooms grow and keep that secrets to themselves. Even though, they take advantage of the tradition and organize contests, fairs and celebrations to welcome the visitors and sell them their local products. In Berga, for example, the local business organize the Berga Bolet, a festival where mushrooms are sold and visitors can enjoy a tasting of mushroom dishes prepared by the restaurants of the region.
Mushrooms are the protagonists of Catalan Cuisine during the fall and there are many recipes that include the different kind of edible mushrooms that are found in Catalan forests. They can be cooked as a main dish only accompanied by garlick, parsley and olive oil or they are served as a side dish for veal or other meat stews.
Such is the tradition and the passion for Mushroom Hunting in Catalonia that there is a Catalan TV Show about mushrooms that has become very popular. They show where to go hunting, the different kind of species that can be found, which are edible and which are toxic and many mushrooms cooking recipes.
Now that fall has arrived, Mushroom Hunting is a great excuse to enjoy the nature, discover forests and woods and enjoy the particular taste of the different kinds of mushrooms in your meals. You will know that fall has arrived because you will find the market stalls full of mushrooms. Enjoy them and make the most of the season!