I am fascinated by foraging. It’s an art, knowing what you can and can’t eat, safely, and figuring out where to find food growing wild in our environment.

Wild mushrooms are an even greater challenge than most other foraged foods… Some of them aren’t just going to make you sick, they can kill you outright, just like that. A little learning is a dangerous thing, which is why despite having been on a few mushroom forages myself, I’ve still not plucked up the courage to go solo and find my own.

But, oh, the taste of wild mushrooms… there’s nothing quite like it. Which is why I would be very tempted to go to Delheim for their annual Mushroom Week, running from 2-8 July 2012. To kick off the week, the estate will be hosting a wild mushroom forage in the Delheim Forest, and members of the public are invited to attend (previously open only to media):

A limited number of pre-booked guests will scatter throughout the forest in search of Boletus Edulis, Pine Rings and other delicacies, under the instruction of Nora Sperling-Thiel, and Adriaan Smit of the South African Gourmet Mushroom Academy. When the picking is done, the foragers will head to the Garden Restaurant to indulge in dishes that showcase the flavours for which wild mushrooms are famed.
The experience will commence at 10.30am on Monday 2 July, and again on Tuesday 3 July, with a short-course in mushroom identification – a very important precursor to avoid mushroom poisoning! – followed by the foraging exercise at 11.30am in the forest above the cellar. A special lunch featuring wild mushroom dishes will be served at 12.30pm. Tickets are priced at R250 per person and must be booked at restaurant@delheim.com or telephone 021 888 4607; or via the Delheim website, www.delheim.com.

Even if you can’t make it for the foraging part, the estate will be featuring a wild mushroom menu at the Garden Restaurant throughout Mushroom Week, which runs from Monday 2nd to Sunday the 8th of July 2012. This set menu will cost R130 per person, and bookings are strongly advised.

Delheim Mushroom Week – Event Details:

Where: Delheim Estate, Stellenbosch
When: 2-8 July 2012
Cost: R250 for the wild fungi forage, R130 for set menu at the Garden Restaurant.
Bookings: restaurant@delheim.com or telephone 021 888 4607

PS – the mushrooms featured in the image above are not necessarily the edible kind, the photograph is from an educational expedition organised by Slow Food Mother City in 2010.

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