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Mallorca’s Wild Mushrooms and the Great Mushroom Fair
Ah, autumn in Mallorca! It’s a lovely season to be out and about on the island—and to eat your way around, given the cultivated and feral harvest coming in this time of year.
Markets and restaurants right now are showcasing a real bounty of the Mallorcan woods: mushrooms. Chanterelles, black trumpets, boletes, oysters—toadstools just about spring from the island’s duff this time of year, and experienced pickers who can tell the delicious kinds from the bland, the unpalatable, and the downright dangerous haul these sylvan treasures in from the hills in heaps.
It’s therefore the perfect time to taste some of Mallorca’s primal flavors—and to appreciate firsthand the age-old foraging tradition that’s still part of the lifeway of many island residents.
The Mushroom Fair
One of the real mycological stars of Mallorca (and Spain as a whole) is such a coveted delicacy that it now anchors an entire autumn festival in the little village of Mancor de la Vall, nestled in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana. The Mushroom Fair, La Fira de l’Esclatasang, takes place this year November 25 through 27, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
The mushroom in question is the esclatasang: aka Lactarius sanguifluus, the bloody or bleeding milkcap. It’s a handsome bugger, flourishing a broad chestnut or rufous cap and deep gills. On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have lots of opportunities to sample this backwoods morsel at the fair, where you can savor it on toast—a popular way to snack on it—or cooked into one or another traditional dish.
The toothsome esclatasang may anchor the proceedings, but the Mushroom Fair’s appeal goes well beyond the fungal realm. There’s lots of traditional dancing and music, including the stirring tones of the native Mallorcan bagpipe, the xeremia, and you’ll see plenty of laidback socializing among locals and visitors alike. And the whole affair kicks off on Friday with a lively evening of fireworks and bonfires, and a parade dominated by imposing paper-mache puppets of traditional Mallorcan giants.
Mancor de la Vall’s Mushroom Fair is certainly one of Mallorca’s most distinctive festivals. Come stay with us at a Hoposa hotel or apartment and take in the woodsy jamboree’s cultural and culinary delights—and meanwhile seek out esclatasang and other mushrooms in restaurants all around the island. ‘Tis the flavor of the autumn season here in the Balearics!