(Armillariella mellea and A. tabescens)
The honey mushrooms is a meaty, earthy mushroom that flourishes in abundance in Europe, Asia, and the US in a wide array of colours, shapes, and sizes. It is among the most tasty, but perplexing in it vastness of innumerable guises. The one thing the forms have in common is that they have to be very thoroughly cooked, and not just sautéed or stir-fried. If not, they cause gastrointestinal upsets. Careful cooking and repeated changes of water usually render them safe, but despite all this, some people still have mild allergic reactions to them; so caution is advised for first-time eaters. When raw, the colours range from caramel, to cream, to canary; but, when cooked, they turn a shiny cocoa or licorice colour, although the interior usually remains pale. Despite having the inviting name of ‘honey’, some think they taste like cremini mushrooms gone wild, while others compare them to roasted liver.