Muğla celebrates morel mushroom

FETHİYE - This weekend will see the first festival celebrating morel mushrooms, known in Turkish as kuzu göbeği, held in Muğla province’s Yeşilüzümlü village from tomorrow till Sunday.

Organized by a team of experts on wild mushrooms, environmentalists and local residents, the three-day event will include lectures, workshops, photography and morel-hunting expeditions. Keynote speaker Jilber Barutçiyan is an international expert on fungi and a member of the Swiss mushroom association VAPKO. Previously based in Switzerland, he now lives in Istanbul.

The festival follows a successful mushroom workshop in December, where Barutçiyan so impressed the large crowd with his knowledge that he was invited back to share his passion for the fungi of the local forests. Springtime brings with it morel mushrooms, a tasty delight for those who have the time and energy to find them, although they can also be bought from farmers’ markets.

As with all varieties of mushrooms, the morel season is short, but the joy of feasting on them compensates for the brevity of the opportunity. After all, if these treats were available all the time, they wouldn’t be so special. Their scarcity is what makes them so sought after.

The festival extends beyond the morel to encompass village wine production, nature photography, history and music. Hopefully it will be the first of many rich and varied festivals celebrating Muğla’s natural and cultural diversity.

The festival is being funded by private sponsors and supported by the local Forestry Ministry, Muğla University and the Fethiye Promotion Association, or FETAV. Local residents will have stalls selling crafts and produce and Cengiz and Ayşe Genç will once again make their house and gardens available for the event. Hidden away in the mountains above the ancient Lycian city of Cadianda, the festival provides a magic opportunity to enjoy a short break and a rare feast at the same time.

Anyone who wants to share in the knowledge of mushroom experts, have the chance to find their own morels , can find information about local accommodations at
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