Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mushroom Hunting

It took me more than three years but I finally went mushrooming.  It's something that has been on my Czech "bucket list" for quite some time as hunting for mushrooms is almost a national past time here in ČR.   

I love mushrooms but I always get mine at the market.  One in seven Czechs go mushrooming at least once per year.  It is also very popular in Slovakia, Poland and eastern Germany.

Claudia teaching right from wrong
Mushroom season is between July and November, especially after a good rain.  Czechs normally harvest around 25 million kilos (~55 billion lbs) from forests each year.  They say that in order to get the best mushrooms you have to get up with the sun.  If you try to go later in the day you will be foraging around for what others have left behind.  Most Czechs have their favorite spots where they like to go hunt but tend to keep the locations top secret.

Yesterday, I finally got my chance.  Claudia and I joined Helena and Fero out in the woods near Domašov, a small village 22 km (14 miles) west of Brno.

The joke goes that all mushrooms are least once.  But with around 1,500 varieties you really need to know the good ones from the bad ones.  Thankfully, my three guides all seem to know which are the good ones.  Czechs, and East Germans, all grew up picking mushrooms. 

After a few pointers I did have a bit of luck.  Of course that was after Claudia went through my basket and threw out all of the bad ones.  In other words, the majority of what I had found.  It sucks that often the bad ones grow right next to the good ones.  But I did improve and found a respectable amount for my first time.

Czechs love their mushrooming.  It is a really nice way to relax and spend some time out in the forest.  Of course, the best part about mushrooming is cooking them up for dinner.

You can find lots of different guides to mushrooming, and even mushroom calendars, in any bookshop over here.

1 comment:

  1. This is so funny becuase it's true. Even here in the US my family still tries to go mushroom picking. Chech out my blog about my life and culture at