With the advent of autumn, when it rains and temperatures drop, the mushroom season begins in Ibiza, and mycologists of every hue scour the countryside in search of these coveted treasures of gourmet cuisine. Although many species of fungi proliferate in Ibiza, such as fredolics (Tricholoma terreum or grey knight), gírgoles (Pleurotus ostreatus or oyster mushroom) or picornells (Cantharellus Lilacinopruinatus), the mushrooms that Ibizans love most are pebrassos (Lactarius deliciosus). This highly prized species, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find because of recent warm temperatures and scant rainfall, is a variety that is greatly appreciated in Ibiza, and according to the culinary experts, these mushrooms have a characteristic and special taste that makes them unique compared to the same variety that grows in other places.
Either through tradition or a love of studying fungi, the numbers of mushroom hunters are increasing, and during autumn days out they become experts at distinguishing whether or not they are edible and also, they learn to distinguish factors such as the degree of heat or sweetness of taste. First and foremost, it is important to be able to tell if a mushroom is poisonous, and therefore, a wide knowledge of the different fungi collected is necessary.
In this regard, every year at mushroom season the Es Amunts d’Eivissa Visitors’ Centre organises some interesting, guided workshops which explain the importance of fungi in the Es Amunts area. These workshops, which take the form of guided walks, are led by Jaume Espinosa, a well-known mycologist on Ibiza who runs this workshop every year and explains the role of fungi in the local ecosystem.
And from the countryside to the kitchen. After collecting these tasty treats in the Ibizan countryside, the pebrassos are used in delicious traditional dishes typical of the island’s cuisine. One of the best known of these is ‘arròs amb pebrassos i trossos’, which is usually made with farm reared chicken, pork and game cooked along with peppers, garlic parsley, tomato, and of course pebrassos; Similarly, when the mushroom season begins, classic dishes such as arròs de matances and frita de porc are also prepared using pebrassos.