Normally when you’re planning an activity weekend in the UK, you might be tossing up between mountain biking, paintballing, hiking, canoeing and coasteering, but if you’re heading to Wales, you might want to consider something a little different: foraging.
Foraging, which involves scouring the countryside for tasty morsels to cook up, has become very popular in recent years, with gastronomic pioneers such as Rene Redzepi from Copenhagen’s former World’s Best Restaurant, Noma, turning something very organic into a fashionable and top-class practice.
If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of Rene, read on for our guide to foraging in Wales and, if that tickles your fancy, check out the Visit Wales website for further information.
Why forage in Wales?
Wales is a sparsely populated country with lots of beautiful countryside to explore and find food in. One of the best aspects of foraging is that it gets you out in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery of your destination.
You probably have visions of searching for fungi in the woods, but this is only one way to forage. Wales also has miles of stunning and rugged coastline, which harbours all manner of tasty treats, such as seaweed.
What can you expect to find?
The answer to this question, of course, depends entirely on where you decide to go foraging.
Mushrooms are a common foodstuff to go in search of on a foraging trip. Not only are they found in lots of places, they are also incredibly tasty when cooked up upon your return.
It is worth pointing out when discussing mushrooms – as there are plenty of varieties that are either unpleasant to taste, poisonous or both – that it is always a good idea to head out with an experienced guide. Foraging with an expert will help you identify only the tastiest and safest foodstuffs to pick and eat.
Learning about the countryside is another of the joys of foraging, as it is both a fun and educational experience.
Down on the coast, along with edible seaweed, you can expect to stock up your basket with wild sorrel, bramble tips and even a crab or two, as well as fill your lungs with a good dose of fresh sea air.
Not only does foraging get you out in the countryside learning about the natural environment, it has a number of other benefits over some of the other outdoor activities on offer.
For one, it’s a pastime that people of all ages can partake in, from children to pensioners – unlike, say, coasteering. In a similar vein, it’s also a very sociable activity. Strolling along in the countryside, you’ll have plenty of time to chat amongst yourselves and with your knowledgeable local guide.
Finally, it’s not just the fauna that will catch your eye. As you journey through the countryside, keep an eye out for some of Wales’ wonderful wildlife, such as the stunning red kite, regarded as the national bird; the cute grey seal; and the beautiful fallow deer.
As mentioned, the Visit Wales website has plenty of suggestions for specific foraging tours that begin with a wonderful walk in the countryside and end with you getting to taste the fruits of your labour. It’s a totally organic experience.