Magazine article Newsweek International

Tip Sheet

Magazine article Newsweek International

Tip Sheet

Article excerpt

Byline: Gianne Brownell with Katka Krosnar in Prague, Tracy McNicoll in Paris, Edward Pentin in Rome and Nadezhda Titova in Moscow, Claudia Kalb

Food: The Thrill Of The Hunt

It's mushroom season in Europe, and time for fungi fanatics to hit the woods. Martin Lewy, a mycology enthusiast who runs mycologue. co.uk, says mushroom hunters must endure mud, insects, nettles and competing foragers--human as well as animal--for the thrill of the conquest. Early morning is the best time to go: arm yourself with a small sharp knife and a breathable bag or wicker basket. But how to know what's safe to eat? Consult field guides like "Start Mushrooming" or "Collins Guide: Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe." The British Mycological Society (www.britmycolsoc.org.uk) offers programs and organized hunting trips. And fungi.com provides advice and a wide range of products. Tip Sheet's top picks for picking:

Czech Republic: An estimated 70 percent of Czechs head to the forests this time of year. Most keep their favorite spots secret, but the best hunting is said to be in the west. Prague celebrates the harvest with the world's largest mushroom exhibition, featuring 400 types of mushrooms.

Poland: In northeastern Mazury, families search for honeycombed morels and golden chanterelles, which are dried or pickled for many Christmas dishes.

Russia: No wonder mushroom hunters bring compasses; last year more than 120 people went missing outside of St. Petersburg while looking for belye griby (white mushroom) and boroveek (brown-topped). Salted white agarics go great with vodka.

Britain: Scotland, with its vast woodlands, is becoming a hot spot for mushroom lovers. Last year Scottish Natural Heritage devised a set of wild-mushroom regulations to promote sustainable harvesting. In London this week the Natural History Museum (www. nhm.ac.uk/darwincentre) is holding a series called the "Fantastic Fungi," which includes lectures and cooking demonstrations. …

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