Foraging for Mushrooms

May 30, 2014

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Macedon in Autumn is just dreamy. The trees are adorned with auburn and yellow-brown crinkle cut leaves, and the grass is lush from the lazy May rain. A touch of fog further romances you and you’re suddenly wishing you were the proprietor of that darling corner white weatherboard house with a stone fence. You’d eat cake for breakfast and write novels about pioneer women taking on the world. And then on the weekends, you could forage for mushrooms. Yes, that’d do just nicely.

Last weekend, my dear friend Emma Stirling from Scoop Nutrition and I headed to Macedon with our families for a day foraging for mushrooms (for more information on our day and our upcoming field trip see Emma’s post here). We were learning from Jim Fuller and Richard Ford. Emma introduced us to Jim in her post on spawn technology and how mushrooms get from the field to the shops. He is a lovely gent of many tales and much knowledge, working on exciting exotic mushroom ventures. Richard has been supplying Melbourne’s top restaurants with mushrooms for 25 years. His knowledge is out of this world articulate and fascinating, I could listen to him talking about mushrooms for hours. Both of these gents know their mushrooms, they live and breathe them, and this is what you want when setting out foraging.

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Wandering under the pines, we searched for Pine Mushrooms, which are a fantastic orange colour, and Slippery Jacks. These two mushrooms are very distinct and not easily confused with dangerous mushrooms. It goes without saying, folks, don’t forage without a guide unless you are extremely well educated. There are deadly mushrooms all over the place. Richard detailed what can happen if you ingest one, which was terribly unromantic though terribly necessary.

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Further up the mountain we pulled long cords of cordyseps out of the ground, a completely surreal, pinch me, ‘what on earth is going on, I swear I haven’t had any mushrooms??’ moment. These suckers are a testimate to the power of fungus, encapsulating a catepiller, taking over it’s body, intstructing it before engulfing it. Creepy amazing stuff. For more information on cordyseps, see Emma’s post here.

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That fog…

Back at Olive Jones restaurant, Chef Mike took us through ways to prepare the beauties we had foraged. This restaurant is a gem, with a woodfired oven churning out loaves and pizza for the local community. In my dreams I’d visit here on a Wednesday (woodfired pizza night) after a steady day of writing and walking and leaf crunching.

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Oh, and our mushroom meal was absolutely divine, starting with sparkling wine and then moving onto a potato rosti with smoked salmon and our silky, sauteed, superb mushrooms. And then, duck confit on a bed of smooth mashed potatoes with our mushrooms swooning undernearth, plus a little brussels sprout action. It was just beautiful. The whole day was. And next time, you can join us…

Scoop Nutrition and Apples Under My Bed Field Trip

Would you like to come mushroom foraging too?  We would love to share the experience. On Sunday June 29th we will be heading out again to Macedon Victoria with Jim and Richard.  It’s a full day outing, meeting at 10:00am in Macedon and finishing lunch late in the afternoon.  We have spots for lucky friends to join us.  You will need to arrange your own transport (it’s less than hour from Melbourne) and the set price lunch is $60.00.  Send your expressions of interest to emmastirling@scoopnutrition.com and we will be in touch.

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Heidi xo

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17 Comments

  • Reply Wild Mushroom Foraging & Field Trip Announcement - by Emma Stirling APD May 30, 2014 at 7:56 am

    […] Mark.  I could tell you all about that, but I know Heidi will do it better….so jump over to Apples Under My Bed and keep reading.  But wait! Before you do. Check out our big announcement […]

  • Reply Department of Wandering May 30, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Heidi, your post makes me want to head out into the forest and go exploring! The thick fog makes it all seem so moody and enchanting. Enjoy the last breath of autumn this weekend xo

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks, lovely lady. Foraging in Germany would be a dream! x

  • Reply InTolerant Chef May 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    What a great experience indeed Heidi, and nice to feel safe in the hands of an expert. There are deaths in Canberra every year related to mistaken mushrooms, even our girls school newsletter runs warnings during mushroom season. What wonderful photos you showed us too thanks!
    Next month I’m doing a promotion on locally grown mushrooms and will be visiting a local mushroom farm, I don’t think it will be as romantic as wandering through misty forests though, but I guess they’ll still taste pretty good 🙂 Wish I lived close enough to tag along x

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Oh that sounds fabulous! It’s so great to get to the source & get educated (& spread the word!) on this farm to fork business. But yes, it’s a serious thing, people need to go with a guide for sure. Scary stuff x

  • Reply Yasmeen | Wandering Spice May 30, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Gorgeous post, Heidi. You know my love for the Macedon ranges runs deep. You’ve captured the feeling beautifully!

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you, my dear, that means a lot! Can’t wait to visit with you x

  • Reply Julia May 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

    This just looks like the best day. Oh I wish I lived in Melbourne, I would definitely be there!

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      What a shame! x

  • Reply laurasmess May 30, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Oh Heidi!! How I wish I lived in Melbourne right now… this sounds absolutely idyllic!! I love everything about this post – your beautifully crafted, calming and romantic prose, the thick, wispy fog, the humans and canines on the landscape… and most of all, the beautiful clumps of earth that housed those wonderful mushrooms. I must get myself along to one of these foraging trips one day. Nothing better than a day in the fresh air followed by a nourishing dinner. I am glad that you had a wonderful time xx

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you, Laura, how sweet. It was a dream day x

  • Reply Hannah June 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Put me down for one of these in 2015.

    Also, I love how you made me imagine Lizzie Bennet foraging for mushrooms. Even though she wasn’t a pioneer woman. But still.

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      But still x

  • Reply Iron Chef Shellie June 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    simply beautiful <3 x

    • Reply Heidi June 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      thank you so much, lovely xxx

  • Reply Angela Chen June 6, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Mushroom picking, or should I say foraging, seems divine! Plus the lunch, delicious!

    P.S – I love reading your posts Heidi. You write so beautifully!

  • Reply Forage and Frolic: A mushrooming adventure… | Camilla Ferraro - Inspired Nutrition July 4, 2014 at 7:00 am

    […] I recently embarked on a good ol’ forage through the pine forests of Macedon (Victoria), in search of some delicious wild mushrooms, as part of a field trip organised by Emma Stirling of Scoop Nutrition and Heidi Sze of Apples Under My Bed. […]

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