Spain: Woman Dies After Eating Specialty ‘Poisonous’ Mushrooms at Michelin-Starred Restaurant

ET: A woman has died after eating a $100 per head meal with potentially poisonous mushrooms at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain as she celebrated her husband’s birthday.

The Riff Restaurant in Valencia has been closed while local authorities investigate the death of 46-year-old María Jesús Fernández Calvo, along with 19 customers who also fell ill reported local media. 

Calvo ordered a dish of rice and Morchella fungi, sometimes known as morel mushrooms on Feb. 16, as she celebrated her husband’s birthday along with their 12-year-old son.

Morel mushrooms are toxic unless they are properly cooked.  MORE

32 Comments on Spain: Woman Dies After Eating Specialty ‘Poisonous’ Mushrooms at Michelin-Starred Restaurant

  1. Morel mushrooms are delicious. I didn’t find many last year, so I’m hopeful they’ll be more plentiful this spring.

  2. I’ve had Morels a few times. I never realized they required special preparation. I must have accidentally knew what I was doing.

  3. Bullshit! Been eating Morels for 40yrs. No special way to cook them but should not be eaten raw. I saute them in butter with a little salt. The article is correct about the false morels but its easy to tell the difference. True morels have hollow stems where as false morels have solid stems. Here in Michigan the time to start hunting them is May though I’ve found middle of month the best. You can also dry them in the sun and they will reconstitute beautifully in water. Some people have adverse allergic reactions to them. Likely that is what killed her. They also say you shouldn’t eat large quantities of them but as hard as they are to find and their value you probably wouldn’t anyway though I have because I know a secret spot where I can find hundreds of them every year. No I don’t share them. Find your own.

  4. IOTW reader tip. My hotspot is a old abandoned apple orchard but have found in other areas also. Seem to like areas with lots of dead trees. I’ve said too much already.

  5. When I was a kid my Dad’s friend bragged about being a skilled morel hunter. He sometimes would find some in nearby woods and would invite our family for dinner to try them. Somehow, my Dad always found an excuse for why we couldn’t oblige each time…

  6. My first Wife died of Poison Mushrooms….My second Wife died of

    Poison Mushrooms…

    My third Wife drowned….Bitch wouldn’t eat Her Poison Mushrooms

  7. The article said mushrooms are toxic until cooked. I don’t know about that; haven’t tried them raw. I’ve eaten Morels for over 60 years and never once had any problem.

    The article does go on to say there are false Morels, and they ARE poisonous. I don’t remember the tell-tale signs, but it has to do with how the stem is attached to the hood. And I think the real Morels have hollow stems.

    And I find the most Morels near Elm trees. Cut one down in my yard about five years ago, and the Morels popped up that spring and ever since (until I sold the house and moved to MI).


  8. @Claudia and Different Tim
    I have a huge, dead elm on my property. What should I look for and when should I start looking?

  9. My son grows his own mushrooms (shitake, mytake?) something like those names on logs. He puts holes in logs and fills them with something (spores?) he buys online from mushroom growers and they are delicious. I dried a bunch of them in the sun one year and they lasted and later cooked up very well. BUT never eat a mushroom unless you are certain of what it is. False morel do not look right at all–check it out–there’s also some button type that is deadly poison I saw in a natural history musuem once.

  10. The past 5 years I’ve gone morel hunting, during “peek times” and not once found one. At this point I think they are fake news. Before you start saying some BS like I didn’t try or the wrong spots, well I tell you I’ve gone under every dead tree in a 10 acre forest for hours on end while my wife wondered if I was dead. I remained committed, goddamnit.

  11. This happened a few years ago when a lady refused to pay the high cost for gourmet mushrooms and picked some from her yard.

    Feeling a bit concerned she fed some of the cooked mushrooms to her dog who ate them with no problems…

    After the meal her housekeeper came in screaming that the family dog was dead..

    The host called 911 and a team arrived and had them ingest charcoal and then pumped all the guests stomachs…

    Moments later the housekeeper said that the car that hit the dog didn’t even stop

  12. I’ll pass.

    Years ago I remember an article about a published expert on mushrooms….died of mushrooms.

    The article said usually when symptons begin to show….it’s too late. The liver is already dead.

    Fnjoy them if you like them… I don’t care. We have freedom.

    I just won’t eat them

  13. ok folks, here’s a clue …. if anything on the menu is called “Death Cap” or anything else w/ the word “Death” in it …. DON’T ORDER IT!

    … just a tip from your Uncle Molon

  14. @Jethro – Don’t know where you live. I’m no expert so I’m not sure what regions they grow in. I know I’ve gone to areas that I thought would be hot spots and never found any yet I’ve found them before where there wasn’t any trees for 100 yards. I’ve also gone to areas where I’ve done well one year and never found them there again. As I’ve said, my best spot is an old apple orchard deep in one of our state game areas. Its a crappy hike back there but I think thats why I’ve never seen anyone else back there. I came upon it by accident hiking the woods for shed antlers. I think they do best in the northern climates but not sure.

  15. Fiddleheads are good too. Basically a fern thats just coming up in the spring. Hasn’t unfurled yet and looks like the head of a fiddle hence its name. Saute in butter. Tastes like asparagus. Cat tail stalks are good also. Thank you Boy Scouts!

  16. Different Tim, don’t overlook ramps. Another great spring time foraging food. Morels, ramps, and scrambled eggs…

  17. Jethro spring is morel time,they go great with venison.
    Look under cottonwood trees, if you see a small bulge in the leaf cover there might be a mushroom under it,they can be very hard to find.

  18. I ate some shrooms from a Brahman cattle
    field on the Stono River on Johns Island,SC.
    The color of the hallucinations was beyond
    all explanation… This was 1973.

  19. “Should you be concerned about eating true morels?
    True morels are normally edible but if a large amount is eaten, or they are under cooked or eaten raw or eaten with alcoholic beverages, one may become ill.

    One can become sensitized to the mushroom over time; you might have eaten them without problems in the past, but now they make you ill. There is no warning that your body has changed its response to the morel. .”
    – from the Michigan Dept. of Community Health document.

    Claudia beat me to the wideopenspaces website.

    Gary Lincoff, who passed away last March, in his talks about mushrooms used to advise one keep a pre-paid airline ticket to Germany where the best, in his opinion, mushroom poisoning treatments in the world are available. He had many stories about people he knew eating specific types of mushrooms with no problem, only to suddenly developing an intolerance for them. But not a fatal reaction, only becoming ill with an upset digestive system, which lasted a day or two.


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