GREVENA

Mushrooms

In fir forests or alpine areas, in glades or in the hinterland, by rivers or lakes, there are hundreds of species of wild mushroom growing every year. Collecting them this time of year turns to be a safari-like adventure; and tender and large mushrooms will be your trophy.

Out of 2,200 species of mushrooms in Greece, only 150 are edible. Greek wild mushrooms are top quality and they are a very tasty, healthy and nutritious produce, as they are a high biological value protein food rich also in minerals and trace elements. Add them in your everyday recipes and come up with delicious dishes, or enjoy them in gourmet-style variations.

Across the country, there are clubs that organise guided tours into forests for those of you wishing to delve into the mysterious world of mushrooms. The Region of Western Macedonia, particularly Grevena area, is where you’ll find the greatest variety of mushrooms as locals are experts in mushroom harvesting. Thanks to them, their area attracts tourists/mushroom pickers from Greece and abroad. The region is home to some rare European species, some of them threatened with extinction. Here’s information about some of them:

Morel [Morchella esculenta]
Having a conical or ovate cap and a network of ridges with pits between them, the morel is considered to be one of the most delicious and expensive mushrooms, second only to truffles. Mushroom connoisseurs think very highly of its liver or foie gras flavour and enjoy its heavenly fleshy taste in soups, sauces, charcuterie, meat and fish dishes.

Chanterelle [Cantharellus]
Orange or yellow, wavy, trumpet or inverted funnel-shaped, this mushroom will tickle your taste buds with its dainty fruity flavour. It’s perfect with white sauces garnishing poultry or lamb dishes. Tip: Try it as a spoon sweet!

Cep [Boletus Edulis]
This mushroom is large and fluffy with a chestnut and hazelnut flavour. Savour it as a meze [titbit] either grilled or fried, and also as a side dish to fish dishes, omelettes or in risottos.

Horn of plenty, black chanterelle [Craterellus cornucopioides]
This edible mushroom a.k.a. ‘black trumpet’ has an exquisite floral and subtle smoky flavour and it is the perfect side dish for game.

Caesar’s mushroom [Amanita Caesarea]
It’s a very rare mushroom species with a divine taste reminiscent of shellfish. Ancient Greek and Latin writers have extolled the nutritional and culinary value of this flavourful mushroom.

Book your next autumn or spring trip to the Greek mountainous mainland with one of the farms which arrange mushroom hunting outings and explore Greek nature during the mild seasons of the year. Discover the secrets of this magical wild fungus which can offer great culinary thrills, but also beware, as “all mushrooms are edible but some …. only once”!

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