September 25, 2020 – When we think of the richness of Slavonia and Moslavina, our first associations are usually winemaking and agriculture. However, these two Croatian regions hide many benefits, and one of them is mushroom growing.
Apart from truffle hunting in Istria, the Croatian regions of Slavonia and Moslavina also hide a rich above and underground mushroom world. Yes, truffles can also be found in Slavonian forests, but the truffle business has not yet come to life in Slavonia as it has in Istria.
Nonetheless, for the last five years, Mushroom Festivals have been held in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park showing various mushroom species of the Slavonia and Moslavina regions. This year’s edition of the Mushroom Festival will take its place this weekend, September 26 and 27, at the Repušnica Visitor Center in the village of the same name near Kutina.
This event is conceived as a combination of science (mycology, enology, sommelier), environmental protection, culture, health, sports, and recreation, because you’re out in nature when looking for mushrooms, and they carry medicinal properties.
The Lonjsko Polje Nature Park / Romulić and Stojčić
Wide offer at the Mushroom Festival
Festival visitors can expect a large exhibition of mushrooms and educational content about the biological diversity of Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, and the importance of its preservation.
Mushrooms are also important for the gastronomic offer and are an integral part of various menus, especially vegetarian menus where they are one of the most important ingredients, which is why visitors will be able to enjoy the catering offer of specialties with mushrooms.
One of the rares and most delicious underground mushrooms are for sure – truffles. Authentic Istrian specialty with truffles shown on the picture are scrambled eggs (“fritaja s tartufima”) / Donatella Pauković
That the popularity of this festival is recognized outside the Sisak-Moslavina County is proved by the fact that visitors from Moslavina come from the Zagreb County, since Repušnica village is only an hour away by car from Zagreb, near the town of Kutina.
For visitors to get familiar with the mushroom world of Slavonia and Moslavina, every mushroom will be exhibited and marked with cards with the Croatian and scientific names, the label of edibleness, and possible medicinal characteristics.
Mushroom empire in Croatia
The originator of the idea of the Mushroom Festival and the founder of the Center for Mushroom Research “Russula” in Novska, Matija Josipović, has been studying thousands of mushrooms in Croatia for decades and is the author of as many as 8 books on the topic of mushrooms.
In his books, Josipović for the first time presented and described some types of mushrooms that can be found in Croatia, and through his work, he emphasizes the importance of mushrooms for nature.
Josipović also wants to find mushrooms that have not yet been found in Croatia and explore what no one else has.
“Everything in nature tries to tell us something, but sometimes we humans don’t listen,” Josipović said in an interview with HRT, adding that mushrooms protect trees, and thus everything on Earth. The kingdom of mushroom is, therefore, according to new scientific research, as important as the flora and fauna.
“The latest systematization of all life on Earth consists of the plant world, the animal world, and the mushroom world as a separate world,” Josipović explains the importance of mushrooms.
Rich mushroom characteristics
In his book simply called “Mushrooms” (“Gljive”), Josipović also dealt with the healing characteristics of each of them.
Mushroom Trametes versicolor has many medicinal benefits and can be found in Slavonian forests / Pixabay
In a forest around Novska, which is full of mushrooms, Josip found the so-called turkey tail (“puranov rep”) mushroom (lat. Trametes versicolor), known in Japan as a cure that reduces mortality in certain types of cancer by 4 to 8 percent and slows the growth of cancer cells by up to 63 percent.
“I hope that such cures will soon be recognized in Europe as well,” says Josipović.
In addition to healing characteristics, it is important to know which mushrooms are top quality, which are edible, and which are not tasty, but the most important thing is to know how to recognize poisonous or deadly mushrooms.
There’s never enough caution with mushrooms, so it is important to study books and learn from more experienced mushroom growers before harvesting. Also, mushroom festivals like these in Lonjsko Polje help in educating about these important and interesting forest creatures which are not lacking in Croatia.
The program of the Mushroom Festival runs from 9 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday.
Mushrooms in nature / Pixabay