Today Susana took us mushroom foraging and then to a trout farm. The morning started out with an hour-long drive up into the mountains, some 10,000 meters above sea level. The scene that greeted us was rather prehistoric-looking, like we were lost in the land before time with these giant agave plants.
We trekked and trampled about in three different forest areas to find mushrooms. The first two hikes generated very little finds. Almost all of the mushrooms we did find were inedible. Like this one.
And this one.
In the middle of the second hike I found this mushroom and got very excited. Sadly, the guide pronounced it no good because it smelled bad (or, as Chef Mark put it: "Jo found a doo-doo mushroom!").
The high altitude and the hiking and the lack of mushrooms tired me out really quick. I spent most of my time looking down on the ground and photographing flowers.
Toward the end of our second hike, it started raining. Hard. Despite our best efforts to book it toward the van, we still got really really soaked. And once inside the van, some of us (including me) didn't bother to get out again for the third foraging location, even though the rain had stopped by then and the edible mushrooms proved plentiful.
Then we drove to Doña Lucia's, a cabin in the woods with trout ponds in front of it. We dried ourselves off by the wood fire in the back of the house, then netted enough trout for us each to have one.
The freshly caught trout proved very jumpy - almost leaping out of the bucket that contained them. We were shown how to gut and clean the fish, but I was reluctant to because I didn't want to make a jumpy fish a non-jumpy one. So I waited until the fishes became non-jumpy in the bucket and then gutted and cleaned an already dead one.
Inside the cabin, the cleaned trout were cooked for a late lunch. Some were grilled over coals.
Others were seasoned (chipotle or garlic) and cooked in foil wrappings.
Although we were all starving by the time that food was ready, everything was worth the wait. We had breaded and fried mushrooms, marinated mushrooms, mushroom soup, then all of the fresh trout. Fish never tasted so good.