Earlier this week we went hiking with our Dutch friends in the Orient valley – a truly beautiful part of rural Mallorca. As we kicked our way through fallen leaves on a forested path, we spotted several varieties of fungus – including a few that looked like something you’d find in a greengrocer’s.
Know what you’re doing
I love the idea of foraging: the searching, the gathering, and then using nature’s free gifts at home in the kitchen. But it’s vital to know what’s edible and what’s likely to land you in hospital (or worse still, the mortuary). As we spotted various different types of fungus, our friends told us a truly horrific story about someone they knew who had eaten some innocent-looking wild mushrooms they had gathered. No. Don’t be tempted by any wild fungi if you’re not 100% sure that they’re edible.
A wild fruit you can eat
Further along the forest path we saw an arbutus or, to give it its common name in English, a strawberry tree. This tree’s pretty little fruits – known in Spain as madroños – are edible, although I hear they don’t have much flavour. Still shaken from the horrors of the mushroom story, I chickened out of trying one.
Back at home, wondering how these abundant autumn fruits could be used in the kitchen, I did a little research. I found a photograph of a dessert Chocolate con madroños, which was on the menu at Tomeu Restaurant at the Hotel Sant Jaume in Palma earlier this week. Not sure if it’s still on offer, but the photo on Tomeu Restaurant’s Instagram page makes it look very appealing. Could be time for another visit to this relatively new (and excellent) restaurant…
©Jan Edwards 2017