Oct. 28- Nov. 8, 2018
We invite enthusiastic mushroom hunters to join us this autumn to explore the mycological gems from these beautiful provinces of western Spain. We will have the company and guidance of members of the local Spanish mycological societies to share our experiences, help with identifications and to recommend collecting sites. These are forested mountains famous for Amanita and Boletus species. Besides our hunting activities in oak, pine, chestnut and rockrose habitats, we will make time for enjoying the cultural highlights, local markets and gastronomy unique to each region.
October 28 to November 8, 2018
This year's autumn mushroom tour will depart form Madrid on Sunday, October 28th en route to the province of Caceres, a diverse mycological region of Spain. Our first stop will be a welcoming feast in the city of Trujillo, the birthplace of Fransisco Pizarro, the famous Spanish "conquistador" of Peru. We will spend 2 nights in the ancient city of Caceres, today preserved in its medieval splendor, as a World Heritage Site. You can appreciate the many cultures from this region found in the museums and the urban art and architecture from a combination of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles.
In Plasencia we will meet members of the local Mycology Society of Extremadura. This society, established in 1981, promotes the awareness, collection, identification and scientific study of local fungi and their medicinal, gastronomic and other uses. They have documented more than 700 of the local species, including 40 from the genus Amanita. The highly prized mushroom A. caesarea is gathered here, and we hope you'll have a chance to collect this beautiful fungus.
In Plasencia you can wander through the old city, visit the outstanding ethnographic museum of textiles, and enjoy market day in the main plaza.
Meet the local producers at the Plaza Mayor on market day in Plasencia.
We have planned forays to pine, oak and chestnut forests, accompanied by local mycologists. Naturally we shall indulge in the mycological gastronomy of this region, and enjoy the wines and tapas, the famous Iberian ham, the fragrant “pimentón” or paprika, cured meats and cheeses (including the potent “Torta del Casar”), and a variety of regional pastries, including "bones of the saints" for Nov. 1 celebrations.
In Hurdes we´ll have the privilege to join-in the celebration of Carvochá, a remembrance of ancestors around the eve of All Saints, with the collecting and roasting of chestnuts, with music and dancing, --where the “gaita” (flute) and the drums liven-up the traditional festival.
Beyond Cáceres and Plasencia, we´ll travel to the beautiful city of Zamora, on the banks of the Duero River, spending 3 nights here, allowing time for meeting with local mycologists and visiting the old city. Our explorations in the province of Zamora, bordering Portugal, will take us to the open oak woodlands of western Spain, and the Cistus stands (rockrose), where Boletus edulis are found, a fascinating symbiosis.
For our return to Madrid we will feast in Segovia for a departure celebration and gently arrive to our hotel near the Madrid airport for easy early morning departures.
WE TAKE CARE OF:
All transportation starting from and returning to Madrid for 12 days.
Hotel accommodations with breakfast for 11 nights.
Guided mushroom forays to explore oak, pine, and chestnut forest habitats.
Daily luncheons with regional specialties & wines.
Guided visit to the cities of Caceres and Zamora.
Exploration of the unique “dehesa” the open oak woodlands, which are the extensive agroforestry-grazing systems of the Iberian peninsula, famous as the source of "Iberian ham".
Expect to have a relaxing and invigorating time, lively conversations, excellent mushroom menus, and a journey to the past. But it is also about the present as we have the chance here to meet with people who make a living in the remote, forested mountain regions of Spain. They combine multiple activities: farming, forestry, grazing goats, tending bees and gathering honey, and managing rural tourism. Mushrooms play an important role for many of these communities. And you will get a feel for their spirit and generosity, for their achievements, and creativity in the face of historical challenges in making a living in the rural and forested lands here.