Fungus of the year 2024 - Curry milkcap

Lactarius camphoratus 

The curry milkcap is a smaller and darker relative of the well-known rufous milkcap. Unlike the rufous milkcap, its white latex (or “milk”) is mild in taste, not intensely bitter. 

The scientific name of the fungus of the year refers to its distinctive aroma: a similar aroma can be smelled, for example, in a medicine cabinet where camphor oil is stored for relieving joint problems. The camphor smell is particularly strong in dried mushrooms, while the characteristic smell is almost absent in young mushrooms. The smell is also described as resembling that of curry leaves, hence the English common name.
The curry milkcap grows in coniferous and mixed forests as a companion of spruces, but also pines and birches. It is very common in Estonia, growing in masses in some places.

The curry milkcap is a good edible mushroom that does not require parboiling but is unfortunately tedious to gather due to its small size and scanty flesh. However, it makes an excellent flavour mushroom. Dried and powdered curry milkcaps can be added to vegetable dishes, sauces, and other recipes.