Our Weekend Away & Our New Skills
Oh Cornwall!!! What a place & how glorious you were in every way this past weekend. My partner, Ben, & I headed down there on Thursday afternoon ahead of a foraging course that were treated to by my sister & brother in law. Thankfully we left early, around 3pm, so we missed the rush hour traffic on the way down and we able to take in all the stunning views once we hit Somerset and onwards, including Stone Henge, which I'd never seen before & so that was particularly exciting considering my love for all things mystical & spiritual!!!
So after a quick pitstop in Exeter for a speedy dinner in Pizza Express & then on to Plymouth to get some shut eye, we woke up on Friday & headed down to stunning Portwrinkle where our foraging course was taking place. At 10am we were met by the amazing Sophia from Totally Wild
UK, and it was clear from the start that she was hugely knowledgeable, as well as being a pure delight! Our course began with a brief introduction to the rest of our group, who were a real mix of people from all over the country, but it was clear that we all had a collective interest in nature, gardening and the outdoors. We were wondering in the car on our journey down if there would be anyone else in our group, and if so what kind of people would they be. Who knew that the course would be fully booked & there were indeed plenty of other people who wanted to learn more about the world of finding your own food in the wild!!!
So off we went on our walk, although we didn't get very far as, pretty much straight away, we came across some wild foliage that may have looked like weeds to our untrained eyes, but to Sophia, she knew it was something special that could definitely be foraged and used. One of these plants was called 'Jack by the hedge', a surprisingly delicious leaf that we sampled on the side of the road, which had the most amazing garlic mustard flavour. A whole new world of just picking random leaves & eating them there & then! Throughout the walk we came across so many plants, sea kale, wild carrot & hawthorn, to name a few, & some I'd never heard of, such as sea radish & tree mallow. Sophia also demonstrated to us how we can tell the difference between certain plants and whether they are edible or whether to avoid at all costs! I mean when you get told that by eating a certain plant your insides would be emulsified (!!!) you listen & you listen well! Because of safety reasons as well, we also didn't touch on anything related to mushrooms as from what we learnt, its a whole subject in itself & you do need to be very careful knowing what's safe & what isn't. Mid way through we headed down to the beach & stopped for a snack of crackers with an olive tapenade, made using wild ingredients such as dandelion, which was DELICIOUS!!! Following this, we took a stroll along the beach and the sun
properly decided to come out to play which was such a beautiful bonus on top of an already fabulous day! Being on the coast, there were many foods that we'd found which we won't find near where we live, including lots of different types of sea weeds. Now, if you've never heard of Pepper Dulse, you need to know about it!!! Oh my gosh, the flavour of this seaweed is like nothing else! Like one lady we later spoke to said, it's like the truffle of the sea!!! We picked some for ourselves and are attempting to dry it out to use, there was no way we were leaving that behind! Following on from our beach stroll & more foraged finds, we headed for lunch, cooked for us there & then by Sophia. A freshly chopped salad to start, followed by a mushroom risotto for main & a cheesecake with raspberry & elderberry compote. We were truly spoilt. It was all delicious and, of course, made using wild ingredients. We absolutely loved our experience with Sophia & Totally Wild UK & we gained so knowledge that we have already
begun to use. Ben & I have been interested in the idea of foraging for a while now & I guess we have dabbled a little prior to this course with our sloe gin that we made last year, amongst other things. It's opened our eyes to a whole new world of things that we can forage & eat using plants that are all around us, which are often more nutritionally good for us than things we'd buy in the supermarket. From a sustainable point of view too, it's a fabulous way of reducing what we buy in the shops, therefore reducing packaging & the carbon footprint of our food. A way of connecting with the earth & really taking advantage of all the goodness it provides for us.
We finished our day with a drink in the next village along, Downderry, followed by a drive to Rame Head where we were lucky enough to see the most stunning sunset from the tiny chapel that sits at the very top of the point. Dinner was in a gorgeous local pub, The Halfway House Inn, in the village along, Kingsand. A buzzing little spot nestled amongst winding narrow streets, and definitely a very hearty yummy meal!
The rest of our trip was spent heading home via some really beautiful coastal spots along the way, and of course, a few farm shops to pick up some gorgeous locally produced goodies! First stop was Hope Cove, located within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A quaint fishing village where we explored the beach, climbed to the top of the cliff to see the views, and stumbled across a beautiful little shop, The Hope Cove gallery, selling work from local artists. I picked up a locally made candle & a little oil painting for our collage wall in our lounge. I love finding little items like that to add to our wall as little memories of where we've been. We also picked up some amazing tips from the owner of where else to visit in the area so we are stocked up with tips and ideas for when we visit next!
It was then onwards to Start Point & a walk down to the lighthouse that sits at the very end of the point. Again, another beautiful spot, despite the fact that cloud had begun to set in by this point so the views were slightly hazy but nevertheless, still gorgeous. On our route home we then dropped in to Eversfield Organic Farm shop in Totnes followed by Ben's Farm Shop, obviously, much to Ben's delight! Oh gosh, we also drove past the most amazing honesty box outside a house that was selling homemade chutneys & jams. We picked up a few to give as gifts to our parents & I marvelled & grinned like a cheshire cat with excitement of it! You just wouldn't find such wholesome little things like that where we live, it warms the heart, if you know what I mean!
In both farm shops we bought an array of chutneys, fudge, some organic apples, cider, eggs & Ben bought some locally produced organic meat & bones so he could make his bone broth that he often makes.
From Ben's Farm shop we got on the road for the remainder of our journey, which took us 3 & a half hours. All in all we were away for 2 and a half days. They were jam packed & felt like so much longer. We came home feeling like we'd been away for longer, refreshed from having a change of scene, getting into nature & taking a step back from work, and my goodness it worked wonders!!! Sometimes a few days is all you need isn't it!