Mushroom huntHow to spend hours in the forest and have fun
My father is probably the most avid mushroom hunter of us all. In these sport, he competes with my aunt’s husband – the minute one goes into the woods, the other one reports what the situation is like. They rarely go together – because a true mushroom hunter goes and picks in the area that is known only to him and if he brings somebody along, it is their nearest family member – a wife, daughter, son or grandkids. A good mushroom hunter never tells the other where that area is, but when they talk among themselves the information that is important is that there are mushrooms – a lot of them. You usually measure that with the amount of porcini’s that you have collected along your hunt. Anything that is above 30 pieces is good. Anything that is above 50 pieces is great. When number reaches higher, you put on your boots and head out to the woods immediately. Mushroom season usually starts late in August, throughout the entire September and finishes in early October, depending on the weather. There are rules and regulations to be followed – one can only pick 2 kg of mushrooms per day per person. Violators face a fine up to 208 EUR. All mushrooms must be basically cleaned at the site, where they were picked. With that you make sure, something will grow on the same site, next season. This is also why you remember the areas where you found the mushrooms. Most forest paths and walking trails are accessible to anyone, even if it is someone else’s property. If the property is fenced, trespassing is not allowed.
When I talked about mushrooms to my guests people always commented that they would be afraid of doing it, because they don’t really know which ones are edible and which ones aren’t. Slovenians are not afraid of that. Ever since we were little kids we went into the woods with our grandparents. This is how we learned how to recognise good from the bad. And with the years, your knowledge just grows. Due to the three different climates – Alpine, Mediterranean and Pannonian, in Slovenia a wide variety of mushrooms grows in abundance. Some Slovenians pick up all of the edible mushrooms – in our family we always looked out for three kinds – chanterelles, porcini’s and a mushroom we call umbrella, because of its unique shape. The latter one is usually eaten deep fried in breadcrumbs, the other two we eat with eggs, pasta, rise, as a sauce with steaks or in a delicious mushroom soup. When the mushroom season is on, we might go into the woods every single day – the abundance of mushrooms is then slightly cooked and stored into ziplock bags for the winter months.
You need about 4 potatoes and 400 grams of mushrooms. Potatoes should be sliced into small chunks. You put both ingredients into a water – water needs to be about a thumb’s height above the mushrooms and potatoes. We add one bayleaf and cook for about 3/4 of an hour. In the new pan we add some olive oil and sliced onions until they turn yellow, we add a bit of tomato paste from a tube and some sweet paprika, we mix that up and then add to potatoes and mushrooms. ten minutes before the mix is cooked we take a different bowl and mix in it about 1?3 of a porcini cream soup from a package, 1 dcl of water, 2 dcl of sweet cream and one spoon of flour. You mix it up to not have any lumps of flour and add into the big pot. Add 1 cube of soup fond, mix it up and serve to the very hungry guests.