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Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival

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How many years have we been doing an annual troop up to the Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival?

A good few, now.

Well, it’s the event that heralds spring for us, really. It’s changed a lot over those years. The event is slightly different each time, and, let’s face it, we all change and get older.

A lot of the Turkish friends we went with in the past now have toddlers or babies, so, clearly, we’re not going to be staying till all hours drinking homemade Yeşilüzümlü wine like we did at the 2011 Mushroom Festival.

Sometimes, we’ve been energetic and taken in the spectacular Roman ruins of Cadianda as part of the day.

It’s just always worth heading up to the village of Üzümlü (or ‘Yeşilüzümlü’ to give it its full name) when it’s festival time.

Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival

Crowds line the narrow streets at Fethiye's Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival.
Arriving at the Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival

This year, we decided to go up on the second of the three days, the Saturday, just for a change.

Well, it’s been a sunny day so we wanted to make the most of it.

And, when we arrived, it looked like the rest of Fethiye had had the same idea.

Our dolmuş was packed and the streets of the village were packed, too, when we got off and started to walk up into the village.

A lovely atmosphere to be greeted with, despite a stiff, biting breeze.

Everyone was wrapped up warm, bar the odd people here and there who were clearly in the area for a holiday and were either determined to pretend it was pleasantly warm. Because that’s how Turkey should be.

Or maybe they just had no choice because summer clothes was all they had packed.

Turkish people play instruments and dance in Üzümlü village square.
There was lots of music and dancing at the festival

And we can’t speak for the opening day, the Friday, but today (Saturday) was definitely a day of music and dancing.

Previous festivals have had stalls around the main square selling various crafts, such as the famous Üzümlü dastar, and foods.

This year, those stalls were all along the streets and the square was a reserved space for the stage for tonight’s music, loud music, dancing…and the blessed Üzümülü wine stalls.

These stalls are just reminders for us of fun times. But back to today…

Isn’t this a mushroom festival? Where are the mushrooms?

The Üzümlü Mushroom Festival is a celebration of the Kuzugöbeği mantar .

To us English-speaking peeps, that’s the ridiculously expensive (in some parts of the world) morel mushroom.

At the festival, gözleme stalls tempt customers like us to eat gözleme with a morel mushroom filling.

Well, don’t mind if we do!

That was our first stop and it’s just got to be done, hasn’t it, especially when the gözleme is no more expensive than usual.

It’s only when these mushrooms go for sale on the open market that the price can be eye watering, especially in nations like the UK.

In Fethiye, you still do a double take when the traders tell you the price but they’re just about affordable for a little one off treat.

And a little admission here: while the gözleme just needs to be tried as part of the day, you don’t really get the best from the mushroom when it’s buried in the flat bread.

This crispy fried morel mushroom recipe we did in the past was a much more ‘morelly’ taste sensation.

Two village ladies play instruments.
These two ladies were part of a group holding their own in the musical noise stakes

There’s a full programme of events at the festival.

People go off learning about how to forage for morel mushrooms, there are treks up to Cadianda, activities for kids at different times throughout the day.

But, for today, our main memory of the Kuzugöbeği Mantar Festivali is the music and the dancing.

A lot of people. And a lot of dancing.

Homemade wine for sale on a makeshift stall at Üzümlü mushroom festival.
Üzümlü wine purchasing – it’s just got to be done

And as we set off to get the dolmuş back to Fethiye, well, we couldn’t leave without picking up a bottle of happy memories; the Yeşilüzümlü homemade wine.

We were offered a sample before we made a purchase…

Wine enthusiasts out there; this is not a wine for testing the nose, swishing around the mouth and spitting out.

It’s red, it’s local, it’s a cooperative, it’s in plastic cola, Fanta and water bottles (a glass wine bottle if you’re lucky).

And it’s reasonably priced. We bought a (glass) litre bottle and I’m sipping a glass of it as I type.

Well, why not? It’s Yeşilüzümlü Mushroom Festival weekend!

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Sunday 28th of June 2015

The combination of Turkish food, festival and music sounds irresistible. And I wonder how the foraging is done. Is it anything like truffle hunting? And how come it's celebrated in the spring?

Turkey's For Life

Monday 29th of June 2015

Springtime, Mette, because that's when the morel mushrooms grow in the area - if the winter weather has been conducive that is. :) And we've still never made a foraging trip so we're not too sure what happens on the little outings.

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