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17 responses to “Edible Amanitas: Vernicoccora”

  1. Nicole Novak

    Hi Hank,
    Did these mushrooms have an annulus? I couldnt tell from the picture If not, then this mushroom looks more like a velosa then a coccora. The color looks more hen egg brown, too. The spring coccora are a pale yellow.
    Just curious…..

  2. Carter

    Glad you see you scored, Hank. I went looking for straggler chanterelles and found a few, but not much quality.

    I have found coccora to taste more vegetable-like than seafood-like. Kinda like a cross between carrots, green beans, and mushroom. I can’t say that they’re my favorite, but all of the ones I’ve ever eaten were collected in the Sierras and it could be that the different fruitings taste different and/or I need a lesson on how to cook them.

  3. Nicole Novak

    Yes, they are the very best of the amanitas. Love them lightly pickled in lemon juice. Add a good yellow winter olive oil and some sel Gris, even a sliver or 2 of green onions and a few mild olives. Rock your world.

  4. Marcus

    Thanks for posting such a detailed description. I have started working my way through Demystifying Mushrooms, but after looking at a book that size, they seem a little more mystifying. Thinking I should join a local mushroom club.

  5. Bpaul

    I’m a total wimp on the Amanita front. I see a little egg at the base of the stem, and i’m OUT. I even passed up some grisettes, even though I was rock solid on the I.D. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick em.

    I bet they taste fantastic. Grass over there, that’s greener too, LOL.

    Thanks for the extensive I.D. guide, appreciate it. Maybe someday I’ll get up the guts to use it.


  6. Joshua

    You obviously don’t have a lawyer on retainer.

    Great post, and good luck with it. This, by the way, is a sure sign you are walking the mycologists path. Pretty soon, you will start describing particular varieties as making good houses for all the tiny blue people you see after you eat them.

  7. Ed

    I shared this post with a long-time mushroom forager I know. I can’t repeat his profane words here, but I’ll say that “irresponsible” sums it up. He related to me that Sam Sebastiani (of the wine family) died from eating a Amanita phalloides and that even experienced people die from eating Amanitas. His bottom line was “There are so many easy to distinguish mushrooms to be taken, why take even the most remote of chances that you can die by harvesting an Amanitas? I don’t care how good the mushroom might be, it is not worth the risk.”

  8. Melissa Sebastian

    Hi Hank!

    Excellent post. I’ve been working on getting to know my amanitas since I first started mushroom foraging 8 years ago. I just picked and ate my first amanita last week. I’ve been extremely cautious because I don’t want to make a deathly (and apparently painful) mistake. Back when I first started foraging, I searched for all kinds of advice on how to identify mushrooms that very few people knew about. It’s great that someone has taken the time to tell the story of the coccoras, mushrooms that are highly prized in places that know how to eat them. These were Amanita velosa and they were as superb as I could have expected from all the reviews I’d heard. I really think they might be the best I’ve ever had: meaty but with an almost crisp firmness, incredibly sweet, with a mild nutty flavor and umami rich. Like you mentioned, the mature ones smelled pretty ripe, but they were fine, superb really, fried up until they caramelized a bit in brown butter with little slivers of garlic.

    Edible amanitas are like a unique treasure that rewards those who are 1) brave and 2) patient enough to take the time to learn the nuances of this gorgeous family of mushrooms. It’s awesome that someone’s taken the time to walk through some of the basic identifying features of edible amanitas in such detail. Hopefully people posting about their culinary Amanita experiences can help to build a culture around eating them, just like there is a culture of eating chantrelles, morels, boletes and other wild shrooms prized by the gourmet world. The Italians did it, why can’t we?

    –Melissa S.

  9. Chad

    I am a mushroom hunter in California, that eats Amanitas now and then. Just wanted to pass on a couple things.

    1. All of the Amanitas I find, including the A. phalloides (death cap), A. Ocreata (Destroying Angel), and all the great edibles, typically have hollow/stuffed stems. I would not use this as a strong criteria for differentiating the different species.

    2. It is not uncommon for me to find GIGANTIC A. ocreata fairly regularly, that are every bit as big and meaty as the coccora, and these at times include veil patches on the cap AND have yellow/brownish cap colors reminiscent of the edibles.

    I don’t believe Amanitas should be completely avoided for the table. I think they include some fantastic ones that can be eaten safely (I’ve been happily eating lots of grissettes the past few weeks). BUT, nobody should be collecting and eating Amanitas before they have some experience collecting and ID’ing mushrooms in general. And absolutely, nobody should be collecting any amanita for the table until they have collected and studied a good number of the deadly poisonous members of the clad in various shapes sizes and colors.

    BTW, just stumbled across your site. Very good stuff.

  10. Alan Rockefeller

    Regarding “Coccora, A. velosa and grissettes all have hollow stems that often are partially filled with a cottony, webby material or a jelly-like substance. Neither the death cap nor the destroying angels have this feature.”

    This is often said, but isn’t really true. I found a lot of A. ocreata last week and cut them all open and found that fully half of them had hollow stems. They are slightly different – The deadly ones often had chambers in the hollow part, but not always. See for my pics.

    I eat Amanita velosa often and I do believe it is the most delicious wild mushroom. It is well worth peoples time to learn to ID it and separate it from A. ocreata. Often A. ocreata has a reddish tint in the middle of the cap that can make it look a bit like A. velosa.

  11. Perry

    I’ve been hearing for years from hardcore Coccora hunters that they are “the best”. After four years of picking them and getting the ID confirmed I finally had the confidence this year to try them. I found a few prime coccora underneath some massive madrones in early November. I can’t say they were memorable, they had a good crunchy texture though. I was much more excited about the 40lbs of B. edulis we found. I don’t think I would pick Coccora again. I found several of the Spring Coccora this year as well, but not worth the risk to me. I am surprised that you posted about them considering how inexperienced you’ve come across in fairly recent posts in regards to mushrooms. I don’t mean this as a slight, it’s just unexpected.

    I do think your key checklist is good, however I have found phalloides, pantherina, and ocreata with pithy stems and striated caps. I have also heard that amanita hybrids can occur (I believe this is with A. pantherina and A. calyptrata). I would honestly be more comfortable eating A. muscaria than the Coccora species complex. I realize that you have definitely not downplayed the risk, but I do agree with a few of the other commenters that it seems a little questionable to post about them.

  12. Checking on the Mycelia | Hawkes Wine Blog

    […] made the first find: a cluster of coccora, a member of the Amanita family (which contains, most recognizably, the red-and-white muscaria, […]