Forest mushrooms in Dalmatia

I love mushrooms! However, we rarely pick them since we are not familiar with most species and we prefer to do it in the company of experienced “mushroom – hunters”. So, yesterday we picked up our friend Dr. Luksa with his daughter and went deep in the hillside (location will not be revealed for obvious reasons :)) to show them some of the porcinis (Boletus edulis) we found few days back. Porcini is called VRGANJ in Croatian and is quite common in the continental Croatia.They are rare where we live so he was interested in finding out about some new locations.

So we drove for a while into truly unique and very pretty landscapes! Very few people live here and the nature is simply spectacular! Besides, a rainy summer like this, keeps all the woods and meadows unusually green. Mixture of rainy and sunny days is ideal for mushrooms!

Monument Valley?
Monument Valley?

We actually did not expect to find any mushrooms and Dr. Luksa was skeptical as well. And than, after merely 5 minute walk into the woods, it started…

The Mushroom of the Caesars just coming out!
The Mushroom of the Caesars just coming out!

The forest was full of the highly praised Amanita caesareas!
This mushroom is commonly known in English as Caesar’s Mushroom, is a highly regarded edible mushroom in the genus Amanita, native to southern Europe and North Africa. In Croatia, it is called BLAGVA and is considered the queen of the forest mushrooms. It is best prepared on the grill. It has a distinctive orange cap, yellow gills and stem. Similar orange-capped species occur in North America and India. It was known to and valued by the Ancient Romans!

Our friend has only seen 3-4 of these in his life(!) and here we found 3 kilos after a 10 minute walk!

Amanita caesarea in its natural habitat
Amanita caesarea in it's natural habitat

Besides the Caesar’s mushroom, we found a great variety of other both edible and very poisonous mushrooms so we were very careful and picked only those Luksa pointed out. He admits to be familiar with about 70 mushroom species and only those that were shown to him by some experienced hunters before. He does not trust the books since the photos can deceive and certain mushrooms are edible only once…

Catch of the day!
Catch of the day!

An hour or so long walk was quite successful. We were returning home with a basket full of first class mushrooms ready to cook a delicious Sunday meal!

Join us for our “mushroom walks” this fall!

www.secretdalmatia.com
www.culinary-croatia.com

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