GeriGündem Mushrooms offer a magic experience
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Mushrooms offer a magic experience

FETHIYE - For many foreigners, Dec. 25 is about Christmas feasts, but in Yeşilüzümlü mushrooms were the order of the day.

Jilber Barutçiyan, an international expert in fungi and a member of VAPKO-CH previously based in Switzerland but now living in Istanbul, shared his knowledge with local residents, schoolchildren, environmentalists, forest managers and would-be gourmet mushroom chefs.

At the event, the local tearooms proved to be too small as the crowd spilled out into the sunny square. His lecture, accompanied by colorful slides, will no doubt inspire many to go mushroom hunting over the next few weeks and enjoy some tasty fungi treats.

The profusion of wild mushrooms in Turkey’s forests and countryside are not appreciated as much as they could be due to a lack of knowledge, said Barutçiyan. There are the popular Çintar or Chanterelles at this time of year gathered and sold in markets or by the side of the road, but as with all fungi their numbers are dependent on the weather. If there is not enough rain or temperature, they cannot thrive.

Spring brings Morelle or Göbek mushrooms, another delight for those who have the time and energy to find them, although they can be bought at farmers’ markets. As with all varieties, the season is short, but the joy of feasting on them compensates for their brevity. After all, if these treats were available all the time, they would not be so special. Their scarcity is what makes them so sought after.

After learning the ways of the mushroom and seeing photos, the enthusiastic audience traveled up into the mountains to an area called Kahramanlar, to the remote and spectacular Dikencik cottages.

The owners, Ayşe and Cengiz Genç, had collected a wide range of mushrooms for Barutçiyan to inspect. He said some were poisonous and could result in an uncomfortable bout of sickness or worse. Other mushrooms were just waiting to be cooked, eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. The consensus was that everyone had learned a great deal, but whether they would be prepared to put theory into practice would be another matter. The best advice given was not to eat a mushroom unless its identity was absolutely known.
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