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Portobello or Portabella?

Philly Ray Jul 23, 2009 07:27 PM

You know...those big mushrooms.

How do you spell it/What do you call them?

  1. hill food Dec 1, 2013 08:59 AM

    when I send someone to the store to play fetch, I use the highly technical term of: "those honking big ones you can marinate and put on the grill"

    otherwise, I know what you're talking about. it's colloquial.

    1. r
      RockyJones Nov 30, 2013 01:47 PM

      It's Portobello, definitely. Portabella is wrong, but it's been used so often that people are starting to think it's right.

      The name is used in England, Ireland, and other places around the world and it comes from Italian and means beautiful port. (porto = port, bello = beautiful).

      Portabella on the other hand is also Italian, but it means beautiful DOOR (porta = door, bella = beautiful) and while Beautiful Port (or Harbor) makes sense, Beautiful Door is just plain dumb. It's Portobello!

      3 Replies
      1. re: RockyJones
        maria lorraine Nov 30, 2013 02:52 PM

        It's a name made up by the mushroom industry, for marketing purposes, says the mushroom industry in a conference I attended in Monterey, during which the word origin was discussed.

        It was made up to sound Italian but has no bearing to any port or Italy or anything else Italian.

        1. re: RockyJones
          Harters Dec 1, 2013 04:47 AM

          Portobello is now in use as a word throughout the UK, not just in England. We used to generally call them "field mushrooms" but the industry has taken up what I understand to be the American name in recent years (as so often).

          By the by, there's a street on London called Portobello Road -named after the town, Puerto Bellos, in what is now Panama. We captured it from the Spanish in 1739.

          1. re: Harters
            DebinIndiana Dec 1, 2013 01:24 PM

            Thank you. Like others of a certain age, I loved the song from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but I wondered why London had a Spanish-sounding road.

        2. p
          Pincus Oct 7, 2010 12:20 PM

          I always use "portobello" if I am writing a description.

          1. m
            melba420 Oct 7, 2010 12:13 PM

            i like to call them "portable" mushrooms.

            1. h
              Harters Mar 17, 2010 04:32 AM

              "What do you call them?"

              Large field mushrooms.

              1. r
                RebeccaMae Mar 17, 2010 01:12 AM

                I'm not sure what everyone has said, but I'll let you in on a secret: In the matter of portabella versus portobello, both spellings are used. It is really up to the author's discretion. However, the Mushroom Council has adopted the two "a" version to establish some consistency.
                plural: portabellas

                2 Replies
                1. re: RebeccaMae
                  maria lorraine Mar 19, 2010 01:11 AM

                  I'm surprised by the Mushroom Council on this, and remember being so when I went on some of their field trips years ago. Oddly, the Mushroom Council spells the mushroom both as portabella and portobello in their website recipes.

                  I mostly see portobello used, and the original spelling was portobello:
                  "The name "portobello" began to be used in the 1980s as a brilliant marketing ploy to popularize an unglamorous mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn't sell them." ---The New Food Lover's Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst, 3rd edition [Barrons:New York] 2001 (p. 485
                  )http://rouxbe.com/community/forums/13.... T

                  Wikipedia (a dubious resource for many things) does have a good write-up of agaricus bisporus, where they
                  indicate portobello is the correct spelling. FWIW.

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    carswell Mar 22, 2010 06:17 PM

                    The 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (a not infallible but far from dubious resource) favours portobello; portabella and portobella are listed as variants. The second edition of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary spells it portobello period.

                2. enbell Jul 25, 2009 05:46 PM

                  Today at the farmer's market I guess the vendor could not decide between the two so went with a hybrid instead. But portobella can't be right, can it?

                  1. t
                    Tatai Jul 25, 2009 03:47 PM

                    How about just calling them "overgrown creminis."

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tatai
                      Wahooty Jul 25, 2009 05:33 PM

                      Or "overgrown crimini." ;)

                      But I have been told this is what the Italians call them...

                    2. j
                      jimingso Jul 24, 2009 01:57 PM

                      Portobello=male mushroom

                      Portabella=female mushroom

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jimingso
                        pikiliz Jul 24, 2009 02:22 PM

                        I like that will be using it,m Giving you full credit of course
                        Now let's have some pizza and learn about Cuba (MR HAND RIDGEMONT HIGH SCHOOL )

                        1. re: jimingso
                          lgss Jul 24, 2009 03:06 PM

                          Sí, but how do you tell which is which? ;-)

                          1. re: lgss
                            jimingso Jul 24, 2009 04:17 PM

                            The length of the stem, of course. Portobellos are most usually seen in London, BTW.

                            1. re: jimingso
                              lgss Jul 25, 2009 04:17 AM


                        2. f
                          Fydeaux Jul 24, 2009 05:20 AM

                          It appears that it is up to the user. personally I use Portabella for the mushrooms and Portobello for the road in London in a song from "Bednobs and Broomsticks".

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Fydeaux
                            melpy Dec 1, 2013 05:11 AM

                            This pretty much sums it up for me!

                            I love that song.

                          2. c
                            Crispy skin Jul 23, 2009 09:08 PM


                            1. goodhealthgourmet Jul 23, 2009 07:55 PM

                              the debate begins about 9 replies down...


                              1. pikiliz Jul 23, 2009 07:30 PM

                                http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/portobel... I was always taught portobello

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