Thanks to Muddy Stilettos, Mr Glam and I booked ourselves onto the Mushroom Foraging Morning, run by michelin star restaurant The Sir Charles Napier. This has long been one of our favourite restaurants and the prospect of a beech wood walk, a cookery demo using our wonderful finds and lunch with like minded people was definitely something to look forward to.
Each Thursday in October up to thirty people, fuelled with coffee, set off from the restaurant with a guide. Unfortunately he was ill for our walk, but Julie Griffiths, the owner for some forty years, valiantly took over. The walk took us through a meadow and then into a beautiful beech wood. Crunchy brown underfoot and beautiful filigree lime green above, what ever we found, this was going to be two hours of wonderful walking. There is, of course, nothing to stop you returning to the restaurant earlier and relaxing with a glass of wine. But Mr Glam and I were there for a walk, a forage and to take some lovely photos.
Searching amongst the leaves we found both edible and inedible funghi, taking our treasures to Julie to be verified. Beautiful colours and the strangest of shapes, each edible morsel was carefully placed in a basket and carried back to be oohed and aahed over.
Glass of wine in hand, we filed into the kitchen to be greeted by Chef Chris Godfrey with hints for making a perfect mushroom risotto, even how to prepare it the day before for a dinner party. Watching him stir and add the stock, he reminded us that risotto is only as good as the stock you use and that it takes patience to coax the creamy consistency that is so tasty from the arborio or carnarolli rice.
Topped with baby sorrel leaves this was our starter when we sat down at long tables to chat with our fellow foragers, followed by breast of partridge on a bed of beautifully seasoned vegetables. A great way to spend an early autumn day, I’m signing up for the spring wild garlic and herb foraging.
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The Sir Charles Napier
Oxon OX39 4BX
Tel: 01494 483011