16th September 2012

It’s no secret I love mushroom picking, but I am not gonna lie, I don’t think I have ever really “foraged” in the full sense of the word until this Wednesday. 

Gian, Pasquale and I took part in Hartingtons first Foraging Day with Chris & Rose Bax (Tastethewild).  We couldn’t have met a more enthusiastic and knowledgeable team of experts with the rare ability of pulling you in with every word and keeping you interested. 
Chris was a chef by trade with a passion for ingredients, foraging and, of course, cooking. He is a charmingly confident speaker with a fun-loving personality and an unimaginable wealth of knowledge to pass on.
Rose is as endearing: soft spoken, super knowledgeable, undeniably passionate about plants, flowers and Nature. They were joined by a new addition to their team Caco. Great hosts!

This full day foraging course has given us a fascinating insight into wildfoods of the season. We learnt to find and identify some edible plants, seeds and flowers that grow wild in the countryside. 

We discovered a whole plethora of amazing new ingredients right on our doorstep such as ground ivy (alehoof) similar has a balsamic odour and aromatic bitter taste; bush vetch beautiful violet flower taste like pea shoots; sweet mead flowers which have an incredibly rich vanilla honey scent; jack by the hedge or garlic mustard, great for stuffing with a root that can be grated and used much like horseradish; Sweet Cicily used as a herb, either raw or cooked, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise and then elderberries, dewberries, hawthorn berries, blackberries and rosehip!

Chris used each ingredient into mini tasting menu that aimed to showcase the use of these wild foods in cooking and bring out their flavours.

We indulged in crusty brown bread crostino of goats cheese, sweet cicely and blackberry vinegar toast, pressed lamb shoulder with ground ivy and wild herb choux potato dumplings,  elder rob mousse crumble as well as a Hedge Jelly preserve to take home.

Although everything was scrumptious I think my star taste find were Chris’s & Rose’s salted wild garlic seeds, unmistakably garlicky but much like salted capers- great to munch on or to make flavoured butter; and the most delicate rowan jelly, great by itself or to enrich meat sauces. Cannot wait until I can experience that taste again!

Looking forward to the next foraging trip and to get cooking with some wild treats.

Posted in Food, by Chiara