I was given a foraging course as a gift for my birthday from my future brother and sister-in-laws, Tony and Zara. Zara runs the Parlour Room Sessions (an evening where intellectually curious professional women can come together to hear from a range of successful speakers, gathering food for thought, new information and drinking lots of wine...) you should check it out, it is a brilliant night! Anyway, back to foraging... what a present! We started the day at Mat Follas' Bramble Cafe in Poundbury in Dorchester. Poundbury is an interesting town and worth checking out in it's own right. After our coffee and pastry we headed out into the countryside...
We got stuck in straight away and discovered all sorts of edible stuff I had no idea was growing all around us: Wild garlic, nettles, hog weed, dandelions, gorse flowers, bramble leaves, primrose, wild violet, sorrel, marjoram and wild pea shoots. We drove down country lanes and went to Powerstock common and Eggardon Hill, which is worth visiting just for the view!
We also visited West Bay and Bridport beach to find rock samphire and sea beet. It was a lovely hot day and the beach was packed. It was really eye opening for me and I have been keeping an eye out everywhere I go now! Mat recommended a brilliant foraging book called Wild Food by Roger Phillips , which I have since bought. Definitely worth checking out if you are interested in foraging. He also has a couple of cookbooks himself where he uses a lot of foraged ingredients in his recipes. I bought Vegetable Perfection which is great!
After the foraging we headed back to Bramble cafe for a late lunch. I had wild garlic soup, a pasty and Eton mess. The food had a couple of foraged ingredients in it. I think it would have been nice to have used a few more foraged ingredients from our outing, but it was all very tasty. All in all Mat was a lovely guy and it was a brilliant day out and about in the countryside and a great intro into foraging!
If you are interested in doing Mat's foraging course check it out here: http://www.matfollas.com/wild-food-foraging.html