In the Basque Country, mushroom hunting is a popular pastime for many nature and food enthusiasts alike. The lush, hilly landscape of the Basque Country with its green forests and oftentimes wet climate creates the perfect environment for the growth of multiple types of edible mushrooms. The prime seasons for mushroom hunting are the spring and the fall, and different types of mushrooms can be found depending on the season.
The main types of mushrooms most often incorporated into the Basque cuisine include: perretxiku, ontto beltzak, gibelurdinak, senderuelas, barbuda, champinon, pie azul, and champinon. Truffles, which are primarily found in Araba, are also becoming quite popular within Basque cuisine as well. Mushrooms are either grilled, baked, or fried and are frequently prepared with eggs. Truffle oil is typically used in sauces and creams.
As more and more people take up mushroom hunting as a hobby, it can be difficult to sometimes to find a decent bounty of mushrooms on a hunt. Many Basque mushroom hunters keep the best places a secret, so it is recommended to find an experienced and knowledgeable hunter if you want to be successful on your hunt. Two of the more well-known places to look for mushrooms are Gorbeia Natural Park and the Altube beech forests. In the Basque Country, it is not required to pay a fee in order to collect mushrooms, but every hunter must remove the mushrooms from the ground with a knife and carry them in a wicker basket. By removing the mushrooms with a knife, the root of the mushroom remains in the ground so that it can grow back next season. Carrying the mushrooms in a wicker basket allows for the spores to scatter and drop to the ground with the goal of repopulating the area with new mushrooms.