Mushroom Picking in the New Forest
On a cold, rainy morning last Fall we donned our wellington boots and Barbour jackets and set out into the mysterious quiet of the New Forest. The mossy woodland is inhabited by wild ponies that run through the trees and graze in heather meadows. The damp provides the perfect environment for fungi, and so with wicker baskets and mushroom guide in tow we went to search for saffron caps, ceps, and trumpets de mort. I admit I spent more time gazing at the misty landscapes, berries and wild ponies than scanning the undergrowth, but thankfully my companions were more dedicated to our search; that night we enjoyed a beautiful feast of mushrooms on pasta, accompanied by old Bordeaux.
The forest is a lush maze and we often got lost or separated, and had to call out through the echoing woods to find our companions, or climb over ferns and fallen trees to find our path. We were soon soaked through and shivering from the rain, but it only heightened the eerie drama of the place, and made the warming wines and mushrooms in the evening all the sweeter.