We decided to get out of Prague this weekend (and out from under a collapsing ceiling in our apartment) and head down south where the Czech mushrooms grow. We headed to the Šumava mountains with friends of ours and I rediscovered the joy of traipsing through the woods in search of edible fungi. I was lucky enough to have done a variation of this as a kid growing up in Nebraska near the Loup river. We were in search of Morels back then and the flavor that was harvested from the ground probably has more than a little to do with my current obsession with truffles. So, it was great to have a couple that was one part Czech along for the hunt to show me the ropes.
What started out as a cursory look along the sides of the trail turned into an afternoon of intense, off road mushroom hunting. There were all types of mushrooms growing and our Czech expert taught us how to differentiate between the edible and the poisonous. In the end, we had a bulging grocery bag full of the good ones. What we harvested appear to be the “Hříbky” (or “edible boletus” for all you smarty pants’). They’re supposed to be great in soup, pasta and as “burgers.” Our friends took the bag home and promised to cut us in on a piece of the culinary action some time in the future. I’ll have to trust them because we high tailed it out of the mountains and into the warmer beer gardens of Munich just a few hours later.
One thing is for sure, though, I really hope this will not be my last time mushroom hunting in the Czech Republic. It was a great way to commune with nature while preparing a future meal.