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For all the foodies amongst you, I am happy to report that the wild mushroom season has started early. The incredible amount of rain all over the island during the last four weeks has brought forward the time of year when setas, bolets and hongos are mushrooming in Mallorca’s forest areas.

Sadly, I am not an expert in the realm of toadstools or fungi. I was not able to identify the small white mushrooms I found whilst perambulating last Sunday in the Sangonera area not far from Felanitx. I first suspected that the variety shown here might be of the Agaricus xanthodermus species (with toxic characteristics) or of the Clitocybe odora kind (edible), but a quick check on the helpful Bolets de les Illes Balears website rendered those classifications as plain wrong. The excellent website is published by the Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals, in collaboration with the Universitat de les Illes Balears. Unfortunately, the information is provided in Catalan only. The images and the scientific denominations (in Latin) are self-explanatory, though.

Do not be tempted to eat any wild mushrooms that you might chance upon without knowing your Picornell from your Gírgola. In Mallorca, some 1,200 kinds of mushrooms are known. It is said that 1,000 of these varieties are not edible; some 200 Mallorcan mushrooms are indeed toxic. Please beware. You better check and double-check before you eat any mushroom not bought from a shop or in a market.

There are a couple of very useful guide books on Mallorcan mushrooms on the market, such as Els Bolets de les Balears, by Carles Constantino and Josep Lleonard Siquier, in Catalan, and Setas by Andrée Cochand, in Castellano.

At the end of October, Jornades Gastronòmiques dels Bolets will be organised by a good dozen restaurants in Palma, Andratx, Sóller, Inca and Manacor. At the end of November, the pueblo of Mancor de la Vall will hold its annual Fira de l’esclatasang i la muntanya.

The photo was taken near Es Carritxó, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 4th, 2009. The time was 18:28:53.

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