Updated: Jan 18
I love how everything, and I mean everything in Nature is so perfectly balanced as to provide us mere human beings with all our needs. Whilst the unnaturally excessive rain has seen gardens and food crops destroyed, Nature says - "no worries, let them eat mushrooms!".
What I love about foraging for mushrooms is the thrill of the hunt. More accurately, the thrill of the Find. No animals are hurt in the foraging of fungi :) An activity to suit people of every persuasion. As you enter the cool forest, the first thing you will notice is the temperature change. A good five degrees difference, so it's a good idea to wear layers, as you may warm up as the day continues.
You will quickly notice how quiet it is inside the forest. Surrounded by tall pine trees, it can feel almost surreal as all colour seems to fade away and you are left with the stillness of the moment. Funnily enough, this helps the brightly coloured red mushrooms stand out all the more. But beware of the showy "peacock" – these are not to be touched.
The next thing to note is the absence of people and animals (if you don't count the waste product on the ground, which is ok – it all breaks down, right?). This activity is the perfect way to restore peace of mind and tranquility in your body. You are not really required to do anything other than walk through the forest at your own pace, with our small group all within ear shot. The calmness that descends over you is quite healing and you may find it hard to want to leave. Especially if you find mushrooms, which can be elusive.
That's the beauty of such a day out. They are not handed to you on a plate (although we actually do hand you food on a plate at the end of the day). You need to do a little work. And it's totally addictive once you find a few.
We show you where they hide, how to uncover them gently and give them a quick clean which makes the job easier later on. So bring a bucket or basket, a small knife, a bottle of water and a light snack and you are set. Wear fully enclosed non slip walking shoes. Covering your legs with long pants and socks is a good idea so no leech makes its way onto your skin. No need to panic as they are not dangerous, just unsightly.
Our day trip starts with a good cup of hot Italian coffee and milk at Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat. You'll follow us in your car to the forest which is an easy drive of just over 30 minutes away. We aim to spend a few hours foraging – and I'd say it will be a bumper year so the time will go quickly – before we have our snacks in the forest. Then we'll head back to the house for a demonstration on what to do with your goodies.
On our arrival back at the house, have a well earned rest as we serve you our traditional foods ranging from freshly made flat bread, home grown olives, zucchini fritters, arancini and mushrooms of course!
We purposely keep our group small, so if this sounds appealing to you, book via the link below asap. You will love it! In the event that you find more mushrooms than you know what to do with (it has happened), you can always give them to your friends and family.
Please note, this link shows a past event. Yearly events will be posted closer to the dates. Location and driving distance may change. Usually within 40 mins radius from Katoomba.
ps: should the weather prevent us from this life changing event, or last minute road closures be announced, we will run a cooking class at Fifth Ave Katoomba Retreat on all things mushrooms! From mushroom based sauces, button mushrooms filled with pesto, pickled mushrooms and more.