of the area around AMANITA Guesthouse in Tsagarada
Mushrooms, or fungi, are a distinct kingdom in nature, classed between animals and plants. According to the science of mycology, there are hundreds of thousands of fungal species, of which only 10,000 are visible to the human eye. Among these, some are edible, others are poisonous, while some are of no gastronomic interest at all.
Humans incorporated them into their diet in prehistoric times. In fact, those with hallucinogenic properties were used as holy mushrooms by certain peoples and cultures and were memorialised in art and literature.
The Central Europeans' appreciation for wild mushrooms and their collection has recently spread to Greece. Autumn, with its increased humidity, is the main season for mushroom growth and collection. The first mushrooms start to emerge about 10 to 15 days after the first rains and continue to sprout until the first winter frost. This provides a window of about two months for mushroom hunting in the forest. There are also spring mushrooms over a 20-day period in June, provided rainfall and temperatures cooperate.
- Giorgos Konstantinidis, Mushrooms, a photographic guide for the mushroom collector
- Dimitris Keltemlidis, Greek mushrooms and their popular names
- Stefanos Diamantis, The Mushrooms of Greece
- A wealth of information is also available at http://www.manitari.gr/
Local species and names
Mt Pelion is an excellent habitat for indigenous mushrooms. Locals are particularly fond of collecting and eating their favourite types of mushrooms.
Their special name for them is "mantares," a variation on the standard Greek word for the fungi – "manitaria". The inedible types are called "palava", or "crazy mushrooms".
Of the edible species, they are especially fond of:
- Caesar's mushrooms (Amanita caesarea);
- penny buns (Boletus edulis);
- black porcini (Boletus aureus);
- parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera);
- hen of the woods (or maitake) (Grifola frondosa);
- and in spring, the rare morels (Morchella sp.).
The AMANITA Guesthouse organize mushroom hunding every Spring & Fall.