Blusher, porcini, boletus, pine rings…Mother Nature’s elusive delicacies are waiting to be unearthed at Delheim Wine Estate, when it opens its private forest to avid fungi foragers during its annual Wild Mushroom Hunts on June 16 and 17 and July 1 and 2.
These excursions will be led by Delheim’s Nora Sperling-Thiel and seasoned field expert Gary Goldman, aka the Mushroom Fundi, and will see intimate groups honing their foraging feelers in search of these wild wonders.
“The fact that we lost 95% of our pine forest on the farm during the tragic Simonsberg fire in January will not deter us from sharing this magical spot with inveterate foragers and nature lovers. The pine forest was actually the only forest we were able to save, so with these exhilarating excursions on the estate we not only want enthusiasts to learn more about fungi we also want them to enjoy what’s left of it,” shares Sperling-Thiel, who learned the lost art of seasonal foraging from her mother and has been collecting mushrooms on their wine farm since she was a child.
With mushrooms able to deliver both death and delirium, Goldman will give the group some important guidelines and pointers to follow before they trot off into the woods for the “silent hunt”.
“It is empowering to have knowledge about one’s environment, particularly what can be used and eaten in the natural environment. So at the end of the day we hope to inspire other foragers to learn more and become comfortable in picking their own mushrooms,” shares Gary.
After an invigorating morning in the forest, a content group will head for the estate’s Garden Restaurant where the chopping boards will come out for a 3-course feast by Chef Bruce von Pressentin, featuring mushrooms in all their finery.
There are only 40 spots available per day as Delheim treasures a delicate balance between sharing their “family passion” and protecting their natural habitat.
The Delheim Wild Mushroom Hunts start at 10am in the Vat Cellar and tickets cost R650 per person. A ticket includes a Delheim bottle of wine and two glasses to take home; the insightful lecture on mushroom identification over a cup of coffee and rusks; the forest forage, as well as the mushroom-inspired lunch and a glass of Delheim wine. All you need to bring is a sharp pair of eyes, comfortable walking shoes and a warm jacket.
* Advance bookings are essential and given the intimate nature of these hunts, no group bookings are allowed.
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For more information, call 021 888 4607/079 735 3257; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delheim Estate is located in the Simonsberg sub-region of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, on the Knorhoek Road, off the R44.