Sweden is known for many things (abba, ikea, h&m, etc.), but one thing that is more unique and special when you live in Sweden is the nature around you. Sweden is filled with many lush forests, mountains, archipelagos, lakes, and rivers – which are not only a significant part of Sweden as a place, but also the culture and mindset.
Swedes are very in-tune with nature, and respect the nature around them. Allemansrätten (The Everyman’s right)is a constitutional right since 1994 that states: “Everyone shall have access to nature”. This idea and term has been a part of Sweden for much longer (1900′s), but was legally integrated only recently. In Sweden you can walk, run, hike, camp, swim, pick berries or mushrooms anywhere – on both privately owned and public land, as long as you preserve and respect nature. This right is also called “Freedom to Roam” which was once common practice throughout Europe, but is now a public right found strongest within Scandinavian countries. If you are not harming the environment or wildlife by destroying or disturbing plants, picking rare flowers, or messing with bird nests, for example, then you can explore anywhere.
This Allemansrätten is especially important during the beginning of summer and fall because it is very popular to pick berries and hunt for mushrooms. Picking berries and mushrooms means you need to hunt for them – find a favorite spot somewhere out in the forest and scavenge. Allemansrätten allows people to wander around without worrying about trespassing, as long as they are not too close to a residence. So, a Swedes favorite (and secret) kantarella mushroom spot might be right in your “backyard.”
Throughout September Swedes are known to go mushroom picking and come back with baskets of kantarella. These mushrooms are considered to be very Swedish and traditional with a uniquely strong and distinct flavor. With Allemansrätten by their side, people can hike into any forest and start plucking. Most people keep their favorite spot a secret, not wanting to miss out on their tasty stash (I’ve read about methods of hiding growing mushroom patches beneath leaves).
While we haven’t gone Kantarella picking yet, we have enjoyed a batch from the supermarket and my husband shared with me the traditional way to eat them (typically directly after you have plucked them). Try a Tasty Kantarella Smorgas!!