Mushroom foraging is a popular activity in Slovakia. Slovaks, especially the older generation, are familiar with a wide variety of mushroom species. The most popular are “dubaky” mushroom. Everyone knows “dubaky” in Slovakia.
Dubak (Boletus Edulis alias King Bolete) is a delicious meaty mushroom that primarily grows in oak forests. Similar edible species also grow in coniferous forests. The dubak mushroom is considered to be a delicacy in Slovakia. People use it in a wide variety of soups and dishes. Dubaky taste delicious in the Slovak Christmas sauerkraut soup (click here to see the recipe).
Mushroom foraging in Slovakia
Its not always easy to find a nice patch of healthy and big dubak mushroom. The mushroom only grows under very specific weather conditions. If the climate gets too dry or too cold they disappear completely. However, once the conditions turn ideal, mushroom foraging enthusiasts in Slovakia typically start their foraging adventure very early in the morning to ” beat the crowds”,. They often, take a long and strenuous hike in order to find a patch of dubaky (if they find it!). Once they find a patch, they typically try to keep the location secret. There is often an unspoken competition among family members and neighbors about who brings home a bigger basket full of dubaky. Dubaky mushrooms tend to blend well with their surroundings and are often covered by fallen leaves. However, a well trained Slovak eye can spot them very quickly anywhere.:)
There are many other mushroom species besides dubaky Slovaks get excited about. Also popular are morels (smrze) and chanterelles (kuriatka). To my surprise, not very many people are familiar with dubaky in Minnesota. We found some beautiful ones two years ago just on our walk in a nearby park.