Gauja National Park
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Foraging for Woodland Gems
Foraging for mushrooms is a popular activity in Latvia and since our trip coincided with mushroom season, I decided we should give it try. It would also give us a chance to do a bit of hiking. It was a crisp, cool mornings in late August when we met our local guide, Andris, outside our hotel in Riga. Andris had come fully prepared for our foraging adventure - knives to nip off the mushrooms with, a wicker basket to hold our finds and guidebooks to help identify mushrooms. A short drive out of Riga took us to Gauja National Park. We followed Andris into the woodland filled with pine, birch, and aspen trees. It was slow going at first, our eyes not yet trained to spot tell tale caps nestled into beds of moss or partially covered by fallen leaves. Even the bright yellow chanterelles escaped our sight. Every now and again, we would gleefully toss a small find into our basket. We were happy no matter the size or type of mushroom. With instruction from Andris, we very quickly got the hang of finding chanterelles and boletes of all sorts. We also learned which mushrooms to not pick and were careful to not put anything into the basket that Andris had not approved. It didn't take us long to fill our basket with mushrooms of different kinds, sizes and colors - our collection of woodland gems! From the park, we headed to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a classic Latvia dish cooked with our mushrooms. Absolutely delicious! Contact: Andris Klepers (andris.klepers@va.lv)
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