Üzümlü Mushroom Festival: The Opening Ceremony

Over the last weekend, the village of Üzümlü once again hosted the exodus of visitors from Fethiye and environs who were going to enjoy the 4th Yeşil Üzümlü Mushroom Festival. In past years, we’ve headed up there with friends on the final day, the Sunday, and got fully and enthusiastically behind the supporting of the homemade Üzümlü wine economy while watching the live music performances late into the evening.
Üzümlü Near Fethiye
This year was a bit different, however. The weather forecast for the Saturday and Sunday was for rain and thunder and, as we didn’t want to miss out on the festival altogether, we decided to take the dolmuş up on the Friday just to watch the opening ceremony. The sun was shining and the temperatures agreeable; a perfect day for milling around with no particular purpose.
Turkish Folk Dancers, Üzümlü Mushroom Festival
Luckily for us, we arrived just as the mayor of Fethiye, Behçet Saatçi, was finishing off his speech in the village square and introducing the local folk dancers. We’re suckers for a folk dance performance!
Üzümlü Mushroom Festival Folk Dancers
But this is a mushroom festival, a celebration of the rare morel mushroom that grows in the hills around Üzümlü. So what of these marvellous mushrooms? Well, they were in evidence but a bad winter has meant this year’s harvest was not as bountiful as last year’s. Last year’s prices per kilo were 50 Turkish Lira. This year, 80 Turkish Lira was the price per kilo – and we saw only one stall selling them on Fethiye market yesterday. Somehow, at that price, I don’t think we’ll be experimenting with more morel mushroom recipes this year.
Morel Mushroom Soup At The Üzümlü Festival
The villagers in Üzümlü know where to find those elusive fungi so there were no worries on the street food front. Morel-mushroom-filled gözleme was still being sold to hungry festival goers and, to mark the opening day, mushroom soup was boiled in a cauldron and ladled out into paper cups. The soup was completely free to those that wanted it. We just wanted this photo. It was a hot day and we were preparing our tastebuds for a refreshingly cold Efes Pilsen, not a still-bubbling cup of boiling hot soup.

So, as we sneak off to the Üzümlü Wine House to partake in a gentle couple of thirst-quenching Turkish beers, we’ll leave you to enjoy this short video of part of the folk dance performance.

(We’re pleased to say that the weather forecast for the Sunday of the mushroom festival was completely wrong and those who ignored it and headed up to the village anyway had the usual fun. All great for the local businesses.)

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Comments

  1. WOW! Let the festivities begin – this is so awesome!

  2. Any festival that centres around food is welcome!

  3. @ Belinda: Oh yes, lots of excitement around for the Üzümlü Mushroom Festival.

    @ Bellini: Fully agreed on that one! 🙂

  4. I find mushroom festivals in the spring a bit strange, but what do I know. It sure sounds as a festive and colourful event.

  5. @ Italian Notes: Ha ha. This is morel mushroom and oyster mushroom season now – even thought there aren’t many morels about.

    It’s a great event and really good for the village as it boosts their economy.

  6. Bravo for Üzümlü. Def. put it in my diary for next year.

  7. Morel-filled gozleme? That sounds absolutely divine to me! Wish we would see some of those morels here in Istanbul, but I wouldn’t pay 80 tl per kilo either.

  8. @ BacktoBodrum: Yes, the organisers work really hard and a lot of volunteers help to make it all work. It’s a great festival.

    @ Joy: Yes, 80TL for the morels this year is a bit of a stretch isn’t it? A shame we don’t know where to find our own free ones. Might have to do the mushroom foraging next year. 🙂

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