Gourmet fungus foray at Ardanaiseig

Enchanted forest at Ardanaiseig

Tonight’s frozen AND burnt pizza offering tastes even WORSE  – after a gourmet mushroom foraging weekend in the magical woodlands at Ardanaiseig House Hotel, near Oban, on the west coast of Scotland.

Wild food forager Dick Peebles explains the finer points of mycology to legendary chef Gary Goldie

From all over the UK, a group of sixteen had travelled to Ardanaiseig House Hotel, winner of “Scottish Romantic Hotel of the Year” to learn how to identify and cook edible fungi.  Dick calls them “free groceries”.

Anita Goldie sniffs a fungus to see if it smells of apricots or rotting flesh......

Soon we began to find mushrooms that we could eat…..

Chanterelle, "Cantharellus cibarius"

 And some that we would leave in peace………

Delicate "mycena" mushroom sprouting from a twig

In spite of blustery rainy weather (very unusual in Scotland), enthusiasm for finding fungi grew as the baskets filled with all manner of species.

Dick's not too impressed with the offerings from TomSize matters!

Unfortunately there weren't any red and white toadstools to be found to match the wellies.......

"Weegie" Dick impresses his audience with his knowledge of Latin names - if not the lethal weapon.......

Eddie has a Hamlet moment as the rain pours down

Dick Peebles shows us a fungus that we will be eating later on!

Chef and mycologist review the collection - it won't do to poison the guests

Sorting through the haul

Gary prepares the "free groceries"

We gather, forks at the ready, to sample the plates of mushrooms

Gary sets fire to himself at least once a week, says his wife!

The “fry off” and tasting was a great success.  Everyone now nice and warm after a soggy day in wellies and Goretex. Time for a bath and to get ready for some serious gourmet dining.

Rather than eat with the rest of the guests I always opt to “play” with my food first…….and eat second……..

When "playing" with food is allowed


Veloute of autumn squash with toasted walnuts and shaved parmesan

Ribeye of Scotch Aberdeen Angus beef with braised ox cheek, roasted salsify, pancetta, potato puree and horseradish emulsion

Courgette flower stuffed with lobster mousseline, "trompettes de mort" and shellfish essence

Blackberry souffle served with vanilla and blackberry ripple ice cream

 And Gary can’t help himself from treating us to a  last mushroom dish……one that’s laced with SPACE DUST!

Hot chocolate fondant with pistachio icecream "snap, crackle and crunch"

Back in the real world I really must try harder – not to burn any more frozen pizza…….

Categories: Commercial, General, Portraits and Wildlife.