Wild mushrooms, an autumn delicacy
When autumn comes to Spain, so does a real gift for the palate: wild mushrooms. If you go to the market at this time of year you will find a wide range of edible fungi. Better still, many bars and restaurants prepare special menus or offer dishes made with these delicious fruits of the countryside. Don’t try and resist… now is the time to be tempted.
With the autumn rains, the forests and mountains of Spain become a unique “pantry” offering many different species of edible mushrooms. Once they have been through the kitchen, they can become a delicious morsel or a tasty accompaniment to enhance any dish. Wild mushrooms are low in fat, with a high percentage of water, but they have an exquisite flavour nevertheless. They can also be prepared in a multitude of different ways: roasted, pan-fried, battered, deep fried, grilled, in salads, stewed, as a garnish… All absolutely delicious.
Autumn is the season par excellence to eat them, although these delicacies can be found at other times of year like spring. At these times, restaurants offer their customers a wide range of dishes and recipes using wild mushrooms as the main ingredient. The same is the case in bars and taverns, that tend to include tapas and “raciones” (larger portions) of wild mushrooms in their daily specials. At this time of year in Spain they just have to be ordered, so don’t miss out and try them. It is the best time to enjoy this delicious, healthy food.
At this time of year you will have plenty of opportunities to discover wild mushrooms, both on and off the table. Many regions and towns hold mycological events, with courses to teach you how to tell between different mushrooms, tasting sessions and guided picking trips to the countryside. There are also regional and local mycological associations that organise activities and outings with mushroom experts. You will even find hotels with themed packages including accommodation, specialised menus, mushroom courses for beginners’ and picking outings to the country. This is the case, for example, of mycological weekends that are often held at different Parador Hotels.
Wild mushrooms can be found throughout Spain. However, the most productive areas are in wooded and mountain Regions such as Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Castile-León, Navarre, Aragón and Catalonia. In these areas you can often find towns and villages offering a range of mycological options, from specific routes and activities, to associated establishments such as bars, restaurants and country house lodges. We would recommend you go to the local Tourist Offices or mycological societies for more information on the options available.
Autumn has a special flavour – that of mushrooms – and in Spain it is easy to discover. Bon appetit! More information: Castille-León Tourist Board