- Culture & Travel
Who Wants to Join the Gucchi Gang?
The Gucchi mushroom, pronounced goo-chee, is the luxury item of the fungi world, and is considered more precious than a Gucci bag! Yes, you read that right. Perhaps the costliest across the world, at almost ₹30,000 a kilogram, these mushrooms from the foothills of the Himalayas have created their own exclusive ‘Gucchi Gang’.
What makes this mushroom so precious, you ask? Also known as Morel mushrooms, they grow in clusters in the wild and are very difficult to find. Their texture is spongy and honeycomb-like, with a the unique flavour. But most importantly, these mushrooms are loaded with many health benefits that make them highly-covetable by the health-conscious all over the world.
In the months of March to May, the locals undertake the arduous task of gathering these elusive mushrooms, and spend hours on end exploring dangerous terrain in search of these delicacies.
Being very delicate, these mushrooms demands immense care in handling, from extracting them to storing and transporting them. The foragers, themselves, refrain from consuming the exquisite ingredient as losing out on even one can put a huge hole in their pockets.
There are numerous folktales that surround the Gucchi mushroom…like how only lightning can magically multiply them, or that forest fires help them grow. What is known about these mushrooms, however, is that they grow in cold climates and in the hilly altitudes, particularly in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttaranchal.
These mushrooms are a superfood, to say the least, and are packed with a ‘wealth of health’’. A rich source of vitamin D, a range of vitamin B, potassium, copper, and antioxidants, Gucchi mushrooms can help guard against illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Its supplements are also used to counter conditions like insomnia, depression, allergies and common cold, and even for weight loss.
Some of the best ways to consume them include in a biryani or pulao, flavoured with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. This highly sought-after edible mushroom is certainly the king of all fungi.
It’s no wonder, then, that the Gucchi mushroom is in high demand across the world.