In America, prime time TV means we watch such uplifting fare as the Kardashians, the Bachelor, and “Extra”. In Barcelona, they watch “Caçadors de Bolets” (“Mushroom Hunters”). Sigh….
Over 600,000 people tune in to this series every week during mushroom season in the Spanish province of Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the principal city.
The Catalonians are perhaps the world’s most enthusiastic fungal foragers, and a large assortment of tasty edible species grows in their forests. King boletes, Caesar’s amanitas, and black trumpets are all justly popular and familiar objects of the hunt. However, the Catalonians are especially known for a peculiar obsession for the rovelló, i.e. Lactarius deliciosus, which is used for pig feed in some other parts of Spain.
This TV program has been a hit since 2004. While the glee these foragers show at finding a large flush of choice edibles will be recognizable to any mushroom hunter, the program is in the Catalan language and unlikely to be understandable, unless perhaps you speak both Spanish and French well.
Mushroom hunting in the mountains of Catalonia is so popular that the government has had to institute strict licensing and quotas. You may or may not be able to take part if you ever visit there, but you can always see a truly staggering variety of mushrooms and other foods in the famous Boqueria market in Barcelona.
I am just glad that I live in a state with as much suitable mushroom habitat as Catalonia, but approximately 599,000 fewer fanatic mushroom hunters.