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  • Writer's pictureKaritas Mitrogogos

Mushroom Hunting in Iceland!

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

When we think of the magical land of Iceland with its dramatic landscape, myths, legends and delicious food, we rarely think of one of its nature’s well-kept secrets. . . . Wild mushrooms!

As a teenager, the only thing I had heard about mushrooms in my home country were some tales of how they could be found in caves of our charming Icelandic trolls . . . that were warm, dark and humid and the perfect environment for their cultivation!

Later I learnt that mushrooms were not really a traditional food in Iceland except in Skagafjörður (Northern Iceland) where they made a soup from mushrooms boiled in whey.

However, with the start of mushroom farming in the early 1960’s at Laugaland in Borgarförður and in more recent years with the ever growing popularity of the expansive mushroom farm at Flúðir together with some smaller enterprises in Northern Iceland . . . Icelandic homes and restaurants around the country are being provided with this delightful ingredient; fresh and/or dried.

This summer in Iceland I was lucky to be invited to go on my first mushroom hunt with my expert friends in their forest a few kilometers from Akureyri in Northern Iceland.

As a newbie to mushroom hunting I expected it to be much harder to find these wild delicacies but I was told that after days of rainfall with plenty of moisture together with the forest’s specific soil . . . the conditions for finding mushrooms were perfect and would be easy as well as entertaining!

As we had been told, having wandered just a short distance into the woods, staring at the ground, we quickly came across endless clusters of various sized mushrooms and following Oddný's (my friend and relative) strict instructions and expert advice on the essentials of mushroom picking, we proceeded to fill our baskets with various sized mushrooms.

I have to admit as a city dweller, connecting to nature with friends and family in my home country in a way that I’d never thought possible was a real treat . . . and as we walked back to the family farm where we were staying I felt excited about learning how to proceed with the cleaning and drying of our nature’s bounty.

Furthermore, I could hardly wait to get the go-ahead to using some of them to cook up a delicious Sunday brunch omelet . . . that we enjoyed with fresh salad greens with Icelandic Feta cheese that was amazingly tasty and freshly baked bread . . . all in all, a true delight!

Thank you Oddný, Sveinn and Dóra for an unforgettable and unique experience!

Last but not least, always be a smart mushroom consumer! Some types of mushrooms can be toxic so when you go mushroom hunting . . . make sure to pick edible mushrooms or have somebody with you who has extensive knowledge of wild mushrooms or mushrooms in general . . . . like I did!

Until soon again . . . .

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