Enter the Mushroom Kingdom of Lithuania


Enter meet someone obsessed with mushrooms? If not, head to Lithuania to discover that a large percentage of the country is in some way shape or form obsessed with mushrooms. Enter into the Mushroom Kingdom. Says my quirky and amusing guide, “if there were no mushrooms in the forest, the girls would be naked.” Huh? I learn that the majority of residents in more rural areas know which mushrooms should be picked and which ones are poisonous. They’re either picked to consume themselves or they sell them to stores and vendors….or simply set up a small stand on the side of the road just like New Englanders do to sell corn and blueberries.

Mushrooming is a popular pastime from mid-summer to autumn. As a staple, mushrooms are usually harvested in the forest and where you are most likely to find mushroom tables or stands set up on the side of the road is in the Dzūkija region from Druskininkai to Vilnius. Despite its status as a delicacy in Lithuania, mushrooms are thought of by locals as hard to digest. Some of the varieties include:

  • baravykas – King boletus (Boletus edulis);
  • voveraitė or voveruška (literally, “little squirrel”), lepeška (in Dzūkija region) – Yellow chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius);
  • gudukas, vokietukas, kalpokasCortinarius caperatus.

Baravykas is the most valued and sought-after species where it is largely used for drying and marinating or used as a seasoning in soups and sauces. Voveraitė is often used fresh as a seasoning in soups or sauteed. An example of a voveraitė dish is voveraitė sauteed with chopped bulb onions and potatoes. Gudukas, arguably the most locally abundant of edible mushrooms due to its lower popularity, is usually marinated.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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