Svampplockning

The (mushroom) hunting club – we were the apprentices in this group

‘Svamp’ is Swedish for ‘mushroom’ and ‘plockning’ means ‘picking’. ‘Mushroom hunting’ does not translate well to Swedish and everyne thinks it’s reallyfunny when I say it… like the mushrooms are going to run away and hid and I need to shoot them. “Is that how you do it in Canada?”

‘Sopp’ or bolete variety of mushroom

Mushroom picking is popular in Sweden, and autumn is a great time to do it – fairly damp and cool, so the mushrooms get a chance to get big and stay fresh for longer… if you can find them before the slugs do. Chantarelles are the iconic target mushroom for most people due to their delicate flavour and lovely texture. They are also very easy to identify, with no real poisonous twins. However, there are dozens of edible varieties, and with the right guide, there could certainly be 4 or 5 varieties to feel comfortable identifying and eating.

Linda lent me her Swedish forest mushroom book. It is highly specific to Sweden, and does a great comparisons of potential impostors with detailed photos and descriptions of stem, cap, gills, and habitat. Walks with elders are best, but this was a useful read.

On Saturday we rode out bikes out to Täby, a fancy suburb of Stockholm with (like all neighborhoods) a large forest park well known to my work friend Linda. The goal was a forest walk, a wilderness picnic, and hopefully some mushrooms with a knowledgeable guide. Stockholm friends Linn and Lai came along as well; they have been in Sweden several years now and have really embraced mushroom hunting culture!

Misty rain and overcast skies above a forest canopy feels a lot like home, as does foraging. It is easy to imagine being out with Pop and getting instruction on the characteristics of mushrooms, or out with Raynn-Beau studying nature in the same way (bolstered by websites and the mushroom identification app).

‘Hedgehogs’ (L) and Boletus (R)

The process was fun, and though we got no chantarelles, we were lucky enough to get some Karl-Johansvamp (a type of dark-cap bolete) and taggsvamp (adorably called ‘hedgehog mushroom’ in English!) Both were great on toast, and Graham made an outstanding pasta dins with forest mushroom/onion/creme fraiche.

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