We were all invited to an ‘edible walk’ last week. That was exactly the description we were given. No details, no clues. I have to admit I got a little excited and my imagination ran wild with thoughts of Hansel and Gretel, following a trail of jellybeans instead of breadcrumbs.
Unfortunately that was not the case, though it was still a great idea. Our hosts took us on a nature trail walk of the countryside that surrounds their campsite and the idea was to find edible plants, flowers, nuts and mushrooms along the way. Whatever we collected, we would then make a meal from it.
So, off we set with our hopes high and our enthusiasm in abundance. Not having a clue what to look for (apart from the obvious chestnuts that scattered the floor and a few hazelnuts that the little woodland creatures had left behind) I watched with awe and frustration as the people in front of me identified plant after plant, leaf after leaf and flower after flower. An expert in mushrooms was amongst us, though with barely any rain and very few damp places, the mushrooms were few and far between to say the least.
After a few hours walking, our hoard of food was complete… Dandelion leaves featured highly, as did chestnuts. A single edible mushroom was discovered. A surprise find of a walnut tree with a small deposit of nuts was an added bonus. Two tiny insignificant little apples, a handful of rose petals and a couple of other edible flowers pretty much completed the collection.
By this time it was quite late so we were relieved to find out that some food had already been prepared and that we would just make a salad to go with it, based on what we had found.
So… was our salad and our 3 hour expedition a success?? Let’s just say, thank goodness for supermarkets! Dandelion leaves are awful, bitter things and should never be a main ingredient in a salad, or anything else for that matter. The pieces of apple helped (apparently), but only if you were lucky enough to get some. Luck clearly wasn’t on my side that particular day then!
Despite the paltry gathering of ingredients, it was a great experience, the weather was perfect and our hosts were very well educated on what nature has to offer, which is great as I’m not an expert and without them I think we would have starved.
This “foraging” nature walk was organised by Fontebona camping, Infiesto: http://www.fontebona.es