Mushroom extravaganza – a taste of mushroom magic!

 In Art & culture, Nature & wildlife
People gather around a table with pots and pans containing a variety of mushroom dishes

Andrew Long served up a feast at this year’s Mushroom Extravaganza. Photo: Tim Phillips

The Blackdown Hills fungus forays this season culminated on Sunday 3 November in a grand event held in the skittles alley at the Sidmouth Arms in Upottery. Each autumn for the past twelve years or so, Quantock Nature has been running wild mushroom walks, usually based at a pub somewhere in the Hills. Our purpose has been to introduce local residents and their families to the glorious world of the fungi, to teach how to identify them while drawing attention to their fascinating biology, diversity and ecology.

For the past five years, we have joined forces with master chef, Andrew Long, in an annual demonstration of locally collected wild mushroom cooking. Some fifteen people assembled last Sunday to watch the preparation and to sample beautifully presented platters of cep (porcini), trumpet chanterelles (pied jaune), hedgehog mushrooms (pied de mouton), pestle puffballs, trooping funnels and horse mushrooms, the latter served as a soup in an elegant glass topped with a parsnip foam.

Samples of mushrooms, labelled and on display on a table.

Fungi samples. Photo: Tim Phillips

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