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The gargal (Grifola gargal) is a native saprophytic fungi species found in the temperate forests of central and southern Chile, which grows on native trees and above all in the stumps and trunks of dead wood. It has an almost tinged coffee colour, perhaps even slightly lighter, with thin wavy edges and white spores.

This mushroom, together with other edible native mushrooms of the Chilean forests, has been used since ancient times to prepare traditional meals of the pre-Hispanic populations, some of which were called ""mapu caful"", or land mollusc.

Gargal mushrooms grow on native trees, among which the southern beeches of Santiago or roble (Nothofagus obliqua). Unfortunately the habitat of these trees is rapidly disappearing due to deforestation: they are often replaced by plantations of common Eucalyptus and Pine trees. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to find this mushroom.

The gargal has a distinct, intense smell, is sweet on the palate and has a pleasant, firm texture. It must be picked at just the right time and in the right conditions to make sure it isn’t too ripe, in which case its aromas and texture may be altered and cause a sore stomach. It is cooked in soups or sautéed with other vegetables and spices.

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Nominated by:Rita Moya, Beatriz Cid