It’s a good time to be a fungi fanatic in Quebec.
The province has more than 150 varieties of edible wild mushrooms and the recent warm weather has made foraging for the tasty morsels much easier.
Through Montreal’s mushroom emporium Mycoboutique, mushroom hunters can hone their skills through a variety of workshops.
The basics are taught to beginners, everything from how to use a mushroom knife to how to trim the stems.
Most importantly, experts teach enthusiasts how to identify edible mushrooms that are safe to put on their plates, from those better off left in the forest.
“We tell them how important it is not to eat a mushroom just because you think it might be edible, because sometimes they're toxic,” said mushroom guide Karla Smith.
This late in the season the best hunting grounds for mushrooms are leafy forests where many can be found under spruce and evergreen trees.
Experts say knowing exactly where to look for the mushrooms on your list is necessary for a successful hunt.
“Some mushrooms like truffles, for example, grow underneath big oaks,” said Smith. “If you don't have oaks around you might not find the black truffle.”
For some, the foraging experience itself is as exciting and as magical as finding that perfect mushroom for their next meal.
“It's incredibly medicinal and it's tasty,” explains mushroom hunter Claude Savard. “It's an ancient symbiotic product that thrives on the existence of other things.”