Ex-CEP-tional fungi excursions in the forest on a legendary wine farm
Join a small group of avid fungi foragers, eccentric hobbyists and amateur mycologists, when Delheim Estate sets foot in the forest for its exclusive Wild Mushroom Hunts, in search of these elusive, seasonal delicacies on 16 & 17 June 2014.
While many fungi fans remain tight lipped about their favourite hunting spots, Delheim’s Nora Sperling-Thiel welcomes foraging fans to join her and Gary Goldman – an enthusiastic mushroom expert and cultivator who goes by the moniker Mushroom Guru – for a walk on the ‘wild side’ on this legendary Stellenbosch wine estate to indulge in some mushroom magic.
“I grew up on the farm and learned to pick mushrooms from my mother. Knowing that this is one of the most exhilarating experiences, I decided to make it open to the public once a year so that they can learn more and also enjoy what we have. Gary can identify most of the wild mushrooms around here – edible and inedible. He can spot a camouflaged porcini in no time and under his watchful eye, we teach visitors to become comfortable in picking their own mushrooms, which is the whole idea after all,” explains Delheim’s co-owner Nora Sperling-Thiel.
Your day starts with an insightful lecture on wild mushrooms and armed with all the newly acquired knowledge, you will then gear up for an enchanting excursion through the pine forest on the farm to get up close and personal with the edible and poisonous mushrooms on the estate. After working up an appetite hunting for varieties ranging from pine-rings to ceps, guests will be rewarded with a mouth-watering mushroom-themed buffet in Delheim’s historic Vat Cellar.
The Delheim Wild Mushroom Hunts are all about the mystique and excitement of the season, the timing, the search, and then the ultimate satisfaction…to find these delicious gems, lurking right there under one’s nose.
“Today foraging classes, guidebooks, Internet buzz and even mushroom-identification Smartphone apps have brought mushroom hunting into mainstream foodie culture, but for us this all started four years ago already. Delheim was the originator of the now-popular concept of fungi foraging events in the country and has since definitely managed to raise awareness for mushroom foraging in South Africa,” adds Nora.
There are only 40 spots available per day as Delheim treasures a delicate balance between sharing their ‘family passion’ and protecting their mushroom patches and natural habitat to avoid swarming crowds carving new trails into the forest and trample small plants and precious species during their fungi expeditions.
The hunt starts at 10.30am and tickets cost R350 per person, which include the short-course in mushroom identification – a very important precursor to avoid poisoning and to know the dangers and don’ts when it comes to picking these edible wonders; the forest forage, as well as the lunch and a glass of Delheim wine.
Pre-booking are essential and given the intimate nature of these events, no group bookings are allowed. For more information or to secure your spot contact Charlotte Terblanche at Tel: 021 888 4600 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although these events take place at the time of year when there is the largest chance of finding wild mushrooms and the ‘moon is right’, Delheim cannot guarantee that you will find any on the day.