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Monday, December 04, 2006


The Fascinating World of Fungis

Chanterelles, Boletes and other treasures in the Forests

Although I began foraging for wild mushrooms about 8 years back, during the walks through the woods my search was primarily for chanterelles -- easy to identify, delicious, and not very rare in the woods of the Bay area during fall and winter. In addition to chanterelles I pick oyster mushrooms that appear on logs and tree trunks after the first rains. The book I use has hundreds of color plates and detailed descriptions for identifying wild mushrooms. Yet, like many foragers, not being absolutely certain I stayed away from other kinds.

Buckeye Creek, January 2006 © JHL


AC with a large Chanterelle, Santa Cruz Mountains @ Musafir

My first visit to the Fungus Fair in the Oakland Museum on December 2nd was very rewarding. It was a learning experience. The lectures accompanied by video presentation were full of interesting information. Samples on the tables manned by mycologists were educational. The cooking demonstrations (the area where more people were to be found than anywhere else) were mouth watering. The food smelled good, looked good, and tasted yummy. My friends and I walked a few blocks to China Town and had lunch at a small Mandarin restaurant called Shan Dong. The food and service were excellent.

Oyster Mushrooms © David Arora, Mushrooms Demystified

Boletes - Highly prized mushrooms

Queen Boletes @ David Arora, Mushrooms Demystified

White King Boletes © David Arora, Mushrooms Demystified

The Fungus Fair is an annual event. The one which ended on Sunday (Dec.3rd) was the 37th. The Mycological Society of San Francisco , deserves praise for organizing it.

There are numerous books about wild mushrooms. David Arora's Mushrooms Demystified, published by Ten Speed Press, is a treasure trove for local enthusiasts. Somewhat bulky (over 950 pages) but the photographs make it worth the weight. Includes a few recipes too.

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