|the second of the three 18th century Ottoman dams we saw|
|freshly-made: hot and tasty|
|all sorts of fungi|
Since my own foray to the Kastamonu Market where those startling orange çintar mushrooms were so plentiful, mushrooms are now on my radar. I realise I know more or less nothing about them. Did you know that they have no nutrition whatsoever? And that there are so many varieties in colours ranging from tawny brown to pale purple, yellow and creamy beige? We also learnt that what we see above ground is only a fraction of the system underground and that mushrooms are essential to the ecology of forest life. Another fascinating fact: mushrooms are not a Moslem thing which explains why you hardly see any interesting varieties around. The people are wary of wild mushrooms.
But then so am I.
I bought a different type last weekend from the same market, washed and trimmed them at home, and then just for the hell of it, nibbled a little piece of one: it was vile, I spat it out! So bitter! I threw the lot in the bin but who knows, the bitterness might have cooked away if I had been brave enough.
|look at this beauty|
Our guide told us that in fact he never buys his mushrooms from the markets as the villagers don’t really know about them. They often boil them to get rid of any bitterness but I can’t imagine that’s very good for taste or consistency. The way they’re handled is very important: only ever collect them in baskets not plastic bags!
|the only people we met: some villagers collecting mushrooms|
|the pretty delicate pleats are known as gills|
|autumn in the Belgrade Forest|