New this fall: Mushroom walks, lunches, and medicinal workshops
If you’re just interested in finding out about mushroom walks and experiences, skip the first bit!
The first time I went mushroom hunting was in Belgium, on the same trip when I met my future in-laws for the first time. It was a wild new frontier for me, but as I enjoyed the woods, I was also intent on finding at least one mushroom so my honor would be safe. I managed, barely. Mushrooms can be sneaky!
Fast forward a few years, and my now husband and I move to Portugal to live on a farm. Our first autumn, he came back with a few tall white-ish spotted mushrooms – Macrolepiota, or Parasol Mushrooms – and we were thrilled! This was it, we were living our best lives, foraging for food across seasons…
Except, I was terrified.
Mushrooms were such a foreign universe to me, and there are SO MANY, and don’t some edible ones look very much like toxic ones? I hated the movie “Into the Wild” for a few reasons, but the main character’s death – by misidentifying a toxic plant as an edible one – stayed with me.
Then we found out Tristan Coverdale – an organic farmer based in rural Portugal for the past 15 years – was giving a “Gourmet Mushrooms” class. We signed up, and never looked back.
Tristan’s one of the most enthusiastic people I know. He knows a lot about mushrooms and he’s a great teacher, because he takes what could be overwhelming and scary and makes it fun and accessible.
Join us for Gourmet & Medicinal Mushroom experiences this fall
That’s why this fall, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Tristan and our friends at Vinha da Manta to offer a new kind of mushroom experience in the Serra da Estrela region.
Anyone interested in gourmet mushroom hunting can join us on Wednesday 28 October or Wednesday 2 November for a morning walk to see if we can spot any goodies – keeping an eye out for Boletus, Saffron milkcaps, Amanita Cesarias, and more! That will be followed by a delicious seasonal three-course-meal lunch with wine (optional) cooked up by Menno Simon at Vinha da Manta. His food is so good, it makes me hum (no other food has ever been known to do that). The cost is 35e per person.
If you’re more intrigued by medicinal mushrooms and tinctures, you can join us on Thursday 29 October or Thursday 3 November for a morning walk followed by an equally delightful seasonal lunch – but here, you get to stay on and, after an informal talk, participate in a hands-on tincture-making workshop in the afternoon. The focus will be on Turkey tails, Reishi, Usnea Lichens, and Amanita Muscaria. The cost is 80e per person. Note that there will also be pre-made tinctures for sale.
We’re capping the experience at 12 people per day, because we’re not in this for the money but for the joy of sharing our world and getting to know other mushroom aficionados.
- To sign up, you need to fill out this form (one per person): https://bit.ly/3DE4FCi
- You have a spot only if you get a confirmation email
- If you’re in, you’re responsible for your own transport
- Payment is on the day, cash or MBWay only
Mushroom hunting caveat
Important note: In case of doubt, do not consume mushrooms!
You can use books or even the internet to try and identify what you found, or various apps, and there are Facebook groups where people will try and share their knowledge to help confirm an identification BUT photos are not a reliable way to identify a mushroom, so no matter what anyone says online, it’s your responsibility to make sure you know what you have.
In some places like Switzerland, you can take found mushrooms to the pharmacy and they can advise you on what it is and whether it’s toxic or not.
In other words, do your homework and be responsible!
(That also means don’t pick ALL the mushrooms you see, but leave some so they can continue growing, and use natural fiber baskets so bits of mushroom and spores can fall out as you walk in the woods and continue the mushroom production cycle.)