Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Most Amanita’s come with white gills, but the Amanita Calyptroderma quite often has pale yellow to cream-colored gills, stalk and veil. This mushroom is also called the Coccora. The universal veil is always white. The edge of the cap always shows striations, even in young specimens. I do not recommend you seek out this mushroom without an expert to teach you how to recognize it. The deadly Amanita Phalloides (Death Cap) can very easily be mistaken for this mushroom.
When young and still in their egg shape, all amanitas are covered by a membrane called a universal veil. On the Amanita Calyptroderma mushroom, this veil is quite thick and the top of the mushroom is wider than the bottom. They are egg Shaped at this stage, you can slice the egg in half, to reveal a pale yellow outline of the embryonic mushroom, try it, it’s quite amazing.
The best time to collect these mushrooms is in the fall, they also grow in the spring but are easier to identify in the fall. Again, l can not stress the importance of only harvesting this mushroom if you can identify it 100% as the Amanita Calyptroderma. Eating the wrong mushroom could cause death.
These mushrooms grow on the south coast of BC, they can be found as far south as Northern California. Look for it under Gary Oaks, Pines Arbutus trees, they look like other amanita mushrooms so be careful when harvesting them. The Fall version of this mushroom is one of the most commonly eaten West Coast amanitas. People who collect this mushroom for the table say that it reminds them of the Caesar’s Amanita from Italy. Caesar’s Amanitas are so well loved in Italy that towns have festivals in their honor. The Cocofungo Festival, named for the Caesar’s amanita, takes place in Italy in October, in the Treviso province. The Amanita Calyptroderma does not compare to the awesome flavor of the Caesar’s Amanita.