Hunting for Mushrooms (Not the Magical Kind) in Barcelona

My second year living in Barcelona, my host family asked me “Hey, want to go looking for mushrooms in the mountains?” I thought they were joking, but it turns out that it is a super popular activity in the autumn here in Catalonia. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of my travel experiences, it’s that it is almost always better to say “yes” to an opportunity. And so off we went to Montseny, a mountain range near Barcelona.

My first concern, of course, was the fact that there exists many toxic and/or hallucinogenic mushroom varieties. When I asked my host family about this, they assured me that we’d be going with some “experts” (aka friends they know living in the mountains) who know the difference between the edible and inedible varieties. As a side note, they also mentioned that there are reports every year of people dying from eating the wrong types of mushrooms – so proceed with caution. Only consume wild mushrooms if you know for sure that they are of the edible variety!

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When we arrived to the mountain, I couldn’t believe how many mushrooms I saw all around! White, yellow, brown, red… they were everywhere!

My host family and their friends quickly calmed my enthusiasm. The majority of the mushrooms I was seeing were inedible. I followed the “experts” around for 10 to 20 minutes, trying to decipher which types of mushrooms were the good ones. Like all good things, the ‘good’ mushrooms always seemed to be hidden quite well!

It took me at least 30 minutes to find my first edible mushroom all on my own. It was such a simple thing, but it felt like such a huge accomplishment! To remove the mushroom, you either try to pull it up carefully by the stem, or if necessary, you can use a small blade to cut it at the base. It is common to carry a basket with you to collect them all.

We found 5 varieties of edible mushrooms:

Camagrocs, or “yellow legs.” We found a bunch of these in one specific area of the forest, and they were delicious in a Spanish Omelette!
“Trumpetas de Muerte,” or “Trumpets of Death.” They don’t look or sound edible, do they? But they are! I didn’t personally get to try any of these because this was all we found, but my host family’s friends said they were delicious.
Ou de Reig, or “Reig’s Egg.” Everyone got super excited to find this one, apparently it is rare. It is unique because it first starts out looking like an egg (see the white part at the bottom?) and then the inner mushroom bursts out and continues growing.
Pinetells. We found quite a lot of these and the following mushroom as well, but I still can’t tell the difference between them! Photo Cred: usuaris.tinet.cat
Rovelló. Photo Cred: www.ambientech.org

And I found a few others that were inedible, but cool nonetheless:

Some years are better than others, apparently. My host family told me that the year prior all of their baskets had been overflowing with mushrooms – they were absolutely everywhere! Although we did find a decent amount, they said it was nothing compared to the year before.

We hiked around the mountainside for a good 3 hours or so, the enthusiasm only dwindling when our hunger started rising. We headed back to their friend’s house and dropped off the mushrooms for an extra few sets of “expert” eyes to look over the mushrooms (better to be safe than sorry!), just to double-check that we didn’t accidentally pick up a poisonous variety.

Once we were given the OK for our mushrooms, we drove back to Barcelona and decided to enjoy the camagrocs in a Spanish omelette. It takes a surprising amount of work to cut and clean them all. And of course, once we put them in a pan, they shrunk considerably. But it was rewarding to eat what we had scavenged ourselves!

The following day, we cut up the rovellóns and pinetells, which I still can’t tell the difference between. We also added in 2 ous de Reig, which the family’s expert friends had kindly added to our basket without our knowing. The host dad sauteed them all in olive oil, and even though we started with what seemed like a big amount, we each only got a small spoonful of our bounty. But it was tasty, and I highly recommend the experience!

To learn more about mushrooms in Catalunya, visit the official site here.

This post is proudly a part of #TheWeeklyPostcard & #FarawayFiles. Find out more by clicking below:

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Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the WorldSallyBryna | Dotted Line TravelsKatyJessica Recent comment authors
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California Globetrotter
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Boy, you guys collected a lot! I often see people picking them along side the roads in certain parts of Germany and also when I lived in Montana. I bet they’re way more fresh and tasty than store bought! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

Jessica Norah
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We have spent a lot of time in Catalonia and Barcelona and in fact are heading back next month, and this sounds like so much fun! We are going to be in the Spanish Pyrenees, but in the Girona region. Do you happen to know if there are good mushroom spots in that area? #TheWeeklyPostcard

Anisa
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Anisa

That sounds like so much fun. It is sad that mushrroms shrink so much when you cook them! I am going to do a similar thing in western England, hopefully later this month. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

Deborah Regen
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Foraging for food is not new but has taken a sort of chic appeal to the modern hiker. This sounds like fun but I would not trust myself knowing the edible from the inedible or downright dangerous mushroom type, so I would be in need of one or more pair of expert eyes.

Emese
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Growing up in Transylvania, I used to go mushroom hunting in the late summers. I wasn’t an expert, but a few varieties are always easy to recognize, no bad mushroom looks like them. Last time I visited, I was there at the right time and ate a lot of fresh mushrooms. They are my favorite food, but they never taste the same when I buy them at the store. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

Nili
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This looks like so much fun. It must have been so rewarding to cook and eat something that you have foraged yourself. #theweeklypostcard.

Katy
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I bet that omelette tasted incredible! I have a small obsession with mushrooms since we went hunting them as kids. All that effort is definitely worth it even if you just make a simple mushrooms on toast, Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

Bryna | Dotted Line Travels
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This seems like such a fun experience! I think I don’t trust myself enough to not poison myself by going out and picking my own mushrooms, but with some experts it seems like a fun (and tasty!) activity to try!

Sally
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Yummm! I love mushrooms so much, and they must be even better fresh. Do you notice different flavours as well?

Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World
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I think this is a magical experience, even if the mushrooms aren’t! I agree that you always yes to offers of trying new experiences when abroad. I would love to learn how to forage for forest goodies – I love mushrooms. Great pics too. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles