The Mushrooms of the Lleida Pyrenees


Throughout the year, it is possible to find a tremendous variety of wild mushrooms in the forests and meadows of the Lleida Pyrenees: These mountains, which rise to heights of almost 3,000 metres, offer a great variety of climate types and vegetation species and provide conditions that favour the presence of mushrooms.

These are most abundant in autumn, and above all in the months of October and November, which explains why these are the favourite months of thousands of mushroom lovers!

Mushrooms are the subject of exhibitions, presentations and gastronomic fairs all over the world, and in the territories of Lleida, the most important events are:

OCTOBER 2013

 

5th and 6th – Grafting Fair

Peracamps-Llobera,

El Solsonès 

Recovery of a fair originating in the 17th and 18th centuries. Exhibition of traditional crafts and of traditionally made products associated with hunting, wine and mushrooms.

973 48 38 29 - 973 48 23 10
http://llobera.ddl.net/

 

Weekends from 5th to 27th – 12th Mycology Meeting of El Pallars Jussà

El Pallars Jussà

Talks will be given in different villages in the local district, also tastings of dishes cooked with mushrooms and outings to various woods. 

973 65 01 87
pallarsjussa.cat

 

6th – Autumn Fair

Sant Llorenç de Morunys,

El Solsonès

Fair at which a variety of products, including mushrooms, hunting dogs and rural tools, are exhibited and sold. 

973 49 20 50 - 973 48 23 10
http://santllorens.ddl.net/

 

11th, 12th and 13th – 19th Gastronomic Meeting dedicated to the Mushrooms of L’Alta Ribagorça

El Pont de Suert and Cóll,

L’Alta Ribagorça

The Hostal Casa Prades and Las Cumbres restaurants of El Pont de Suert and the Casa Peiró restaurant of Cóll offer a mushroom-based menu made with typical local products. 

973 69 04 02
www.turismealtaribagorca.cat

 

12th and 13th – Saffron Milk Cap Fair

Coll de Nargó,

L’Alt Urgell 

Festival that includes a mushroom competition, a fair selling mushrooms and traditional craft products and a communal meal. 

973 38 30 48

 

18th, 19th and 20th – 19th Gastronomic Meeting dedicated to the Mushrooms of L’Alta Ribagorça

Caldes de Boí and Llesp,

L’Alta Ribagorça 

The Manantial restaurant of Caldes de Boí and the Villa Maria restaurant of Llesp offer a mushroom-based menu made with typical local products.

973 69 04 02
www.turismealtaribagorca.cat

 

From 18th to 20th – 6th Mushroom and Mushroom-Picker Fair

Solsona,

El Solsonès

Fair at which mushrooms are exhibited and sold. It is also possible to find traditional craft products from the local district. Lectures and excursions designed to create greater awareness and respect for the natural environment. 

973 48 20 03 - 973 48 23 10
solsonesfires.cat

 

25th, 26th and 27th - 19th Gastronomic Meeting dedicated to the Mushrooms of L’Alta Ribagorça

Erill la Vall, Boí and El Pont de Suert,

L’Alta Ribagorça

The Aüt restaurant of Erill la Vall, Casós restaurant of Boí and Ribera restaurant of El Pont de Suert offer a mushroom-based menu made with typical local products. 

973 69 04 02
www.turismealtaribagorca.cat

 

26th – Mycology Walk

El Pont de Suert,

L’Alta Ribagorça 

Mycology walk to find and identify different species of mushrooms and an exhibition of the mushrooms picked. Leaving from El Pont de Suert at 9 am.

http://cearpontdesuert.blogspot.com.es/search/label/Senderisme

 

26th and 27th – Autumn Fair of Tírvia

Tírvia,

El Pallars Sobirà

One of the most traditional fairs held in the Pyrenees. Sale of traditional local craft and food products: mushrooms, cheeses, jams, chocolate, liqueurs, etc. Demonstrations, activities and workshops for the young and old. 

973 62 20 73
http://tirvia.ddl.net

 

27th - “Boletus” Fair

Isona,

El Pallars Jussà

Featuring exhibitors from the agri-food and traditional crafts sectors. This fair forms part of the Mycological Sessions of El Pallars Jussà. The Boletus competition also includes a display of mushroom cuisine and a mushroom exhibition. 

973 66 50 62
isona.cat

 

From 31st October to 3rd November – 19th Gastronomic Meeting dedicated to the Mushrooms of L’Alta Ribagorça

Iran, El Pont de Suert, Taüll and El Pla de l’Ermita,

L’Alta Ribagorça

The Casa Joanot restaurant of Iran, Casa Prades restaurant of El Pont de Suert, El Fai restaurant of Taüll and Asador Sidreria Karpanta restaurant of El Pla de l’Ermita offer a mushroom-based menu made with typical local products.

973 69 04 02
www.turismealtaribagorca.cat


2nd November "Festa del Cep" and "Fira Ramadera de Tots Sants"

Vilaller, l'Ata Ribagorça



Practical advice and basic rules

Fungi play an important part in natural ecosystems and should not be broken or picked indiscriminately.

It is important that mushroom pickers not only possess a basic understanding of mycology, but have also received some form of education relating to nature and the natural environment. Such training would have positive repercussions for both the individual picker and the wider mushroom-picking community.

  • Do not leave anything behind in the forest.
  • Never light fires or smoke.
  • Do not damage branches or living plants.
  • Use a knife when cutting mushrooms in order to protect their mycelia.
  • Do not use rakes or similar tools to scratch about amongst the leaf litter as this can damage the mycelia.
  • Carry mushrooms in a wicker basket and never a plastic bag. This will help to prevent bending and breaking them and will allow also them to breathe. Lack of air may damage their texture and adversely affect their taste.
  • Only pick mushrooms that are in good condition and that will be used.
  • Do not take cars or motorbikes into the forest.
  • Respect the property of others: it is often the source of their livelihood.
  • And finally, remember that the best mushroom picker is the one whose presence in the forest passes unnoticed.


In the case of poisoning

  • The golden rule is not to pick anything that cannot be confidently identified as an edible species. The great variety of mushroom species and the danger of confusing some of them have given mushroom picking the reputation of a potentially dangerous activity. It is therefore important to take all of the necessary precautions. 
  • Rapid medical attention may save the lives of people who have consumed some poisonous mushrooms, but some symptoms of poisoning do not become evident until it is already too late. It is therefore important to know that the absence of stomach ache does not necessarily mean that what was eaten was good and healthy.
  • There are two types of poisoning, one involving a short incubation period and the other a long incubation period. The former can be detected within minutes or hours of consuming mushrooms and tends to have limited consequences. In most case, the main result is stomach ache caused by the mushroom in question containing a substance that irritates the walls of the stomach or intestines, provoking vomiting and diarrhoea and muscarine syndrome, which also affects the victim’s sight, heart rhythm and nervous system. In all of these cases, it is advisable for anyone affected to go to a hospital and seek appropriate medical treatment. If possible, anybody suffering these symptoms should give the remains of any mushrooms they may have consumed, or of anything that they may have vomited, to medical staff.
  • Poisoning with a long incubation period may not be evident for several hours, or even days. In such cases, cleaning out the victim’s stomach is no longer an option, as the toxins will already have spread through the victim’s body. The most serious cases of poisoning, and the majority that result in death, are of this type. Survival normally depends on how much of the mushroom was consumed, the general state of the body, and how long has passed since it was eaten.
  • Of the 2000 species of mushroom listed in Spain, about 180 are edible and only 30 are considered toxic, with fewer than 12 being deadly. Information provided by: Patronat comarcal de Turisme de l'Alta Ribagorça.

Some false beliefs about mushrooms. 

It is not true that...

  •  Mushrooms growing near waste dumps or dirty sites are necessarily poisonous. There is NO such relationship, but it is best not to consume such mushrooms as they could be contaminated.   
  •  A mushroom that has been eaten or gnawed by an animal must be good to eat. This is NOT true. Slugs sometimes feed on the deadly poisonous death cap mushroom. 
  • Good mushrooms do not grow next to poisonous ones. This is NOT true: they may.
  • It is possible to eat any mushroom as long as it is well cooked. This is NOT true. Some mushrooms contain toxins that can be eliminated by cooking or removed with the water used for cooking, but there are others that contain toxins which CANNOT be eliminated by cooking and remain toxic. 
  • If a silver spoon or coin, or cloves of garlic go black in the juice obtained from cooking mushrooms, hey are not poisonous. This is NOT true. It is true of some species, but cannot be taken as a general rule.

Curious facts

  • Did you know that... It is possible to maintain mushrooms in good condition until the day after picking by spreading them out on a towel and keeping them in the vegetable compartment of a refrigerator. 
  • Did you know that... The Penny Bun mushroom, a variety that is very abundant in some years and very scarce in others, can reach weights of up to 3 kg per unit. Remember that freezing mushrooms may adversely affect their smell. It is possible to solve this problem by boiling and then putting them in an air-tight bag before freezing. 
  • Did you know that... It is recommendable to eat mushrooms as soon as possible. If this is not done, some species may become infested with grubs. 
  • Did you know that... A single saffron milk cap mushroom provides half an hour of energy for carrying on searching for more. 
  • Did you know that... In the Middle Ages, species like the fairy-ring mushroom were the subject of many myths and legends connected with witchcraft.

Recommendations

  • Remember that... Species such as the St George’s agaric, the llenega (Hygrophorus latitabundus) and the groundsel must never be eaten raw, as they contain toxins. 
  • Remember that... Keeping an example of a mushroom that has been consumed in the refrigerator could help to determine the species in the event of poisoning. 
  • Remember that... It is recommended to eat mushrooms as soon as possible. Failure to do this may result in some species becoming infested by grubs. Once picked, mushrooms should be eaten or stored. But before cooking mushrooms, or using them to make preserves, it is important to ensure that they are edible. Whenever unsure, it is important to consult an expert mushroom picker or compare the mushrooms in question with photographs and illustrations from a good book about mushrooms: it is easy to confuse some edible and poisonous species! If in doubt, do not pick or use the mushroom in question. 
  • Remember that... Once mushrooms have been picked, it is necessary to wash them with tap water, but without scrubbing them too much, or applying any type of cleaning product. They should then be left to drain. In this way, it is possible to conserve the aroma of the forest. 
  • Remember that... Mushrooms appear at specific times of the year, but they can be eaten all year round; this has inspired the development of a number of conservation techniques. The most popular of these are drying them, applying a bain-marie, storing them in olive oil, brine or vinegar, or freezing them. Whichever method is applied, the mushrooms will remain fit to consume and they can be kept for quite a long time. 

Information provided by: Patronat comarcal de Turisme de l'Alta Ribagorça.





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