Monday, October 10, 2011

Mushroom Hunting - Success??

Foraging came back into fashion at the start of the recession and it makes sense. I always wanted to do it but have no idea what is edible or not (so much easier in the shop). Longueville House are doing a mushroom hunt every year but to be honest, the price is a bit steep for me at €95 per person. So, last Saturday Terence and myself - armed with the mushroom book of River Cottage - went to the woods. It was a great day, warm and still a bit breezy. It was a great walk and we found loads of mushroom - and that's where the trouble started.

We saw the mushrooms in our book and tried to compare to what we found - no luck really. We thought we had chanterelles (I am still not sure) and puff balls (which are easy to recognise). With the rest, we were a bit stunned. LinkI love chanterelles and when I see them at the market, I normally by a few and make a nice dish and it is always a treat (they go really well with game). But if you are not sure what you just found - and no one there to tell and ensure you - ups.
They looked beautiful, they looked appetizing but no real indication if they were edible. Obviously, just because birds, snails and rodents eat them, doesn't mean that we can. The gills are not indication either as they all looked different.

I tried to find a few professional foragers but it seems that they don't really advertise. Darina Allen gave me 2 names and no luck there either. I would love to organise a day out with SlowFood (yes, I am still with them) with a professional forager and maybe end up having a BBQ/picnic with our finds. Please let me know if you know anyone suitable and who would be willing to take a handful of eager amateurs to the woods or even seashore (wouldn't mind to learn about seaweed either).

Anyhow, we still had a great day and a few boxes of mushrooms which we still try to identify - no haven't eaten them yet, apart from the puffball.

It might even be already too late to hunt for anything in the woods - at least the birds were already at it but surely, with the weather we have now, there should be still plenty available.

If you are interested in joining the Longueville House Mushroom hunt, they have 2 coming up (16th & 30th October) but as I said, €95 per person. Well worth it, I would say but we do have a recession on at the moment (by the way, it was €85 last year). You are being taken out into the woods and come back to the house where a lunch will be served. You will be able to ask all kind of questions and it is definitely an experience.

Please let me know if you recognise any of the mushrooms shown here (yes, I will trust you). I got the foraging bug now and really want to learn more about it. Have already some ideas bouncing around in my head. So watch this space for more to come.

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