Once upon a time foraging would have been a way of life. It probably still is in many cultures around the world, but for Western civilisation it has long been considered a little bit out of the ordinary. However wild food is undergoing a resurgence. Just look at the Great British Bake Off’s star baker (for three weeks running) Ian Cumming, who has sourced many of his ingredients for his unusual but show stopping bakes from both his own garden and out on foraging expeditions.

So whether it’s taking the kids out bramble hunting (a favourite in this house!), seeking out elusive sloes (sloe gin anyone?) or searching for wild garlic and mushrooms, it’s time to rediscover the riches of our landscape – and the Cairngorms National Park is the perfect place to get started.

Foraging Cairngorms

Now most foragers are unlikely to share their best spots with you so if you’re not sure how to tell your chanterelle from your giant puffball, a great way to get back to your hunter-gatherer routes is to join a local guide or Ranger, who can take you to the best secret spots and steer you well clear of anything toxic. There are lots of knowledgeable and experienced guides in the National Park who will be able to point out various edible plants and fruits including Andy and Rebecca at Scot Mountain Holidays, who not only grow lots of their own produce, but spend time foraging for all the finest wild foods offered by the Cairngorms.

If you’re free this weekend (28-30 August) consider joining the Dell of Abernethy’s Autumn Wild Gourmet Workshop which takes place around the idyllic setting of Dell of Abernethy, a peaceful rural hideaway on the edge of the Abernethy Forest.

The weekend break offers a culinary and soulful experience, with a chance to get back to the original source of food by searching woodlands, meadows and river banks for some incredible edibles, all topped off with cocktails made from fragrant foraged botanicals. And it’s the random encounters with nature’s larder that will determine what’s on the menu for dinner that night as you root out ingredients and use them to create a meal for an outdoor woodland feast, all under the guidance of professional forager.

Autumn in the Cairngorms offers rich pickings from fungi and plants to berries and herbs, but as well as food from natural and wild places there are a wealth of fine food and drink producers based in the Cairngorms National Park. The National Park is home to a wealth of top-quality producers and food innovators, cafes and restaurants that can do all the hard work for you!

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