Fringe Food FestivalMay 12, 2012
Melbourne's Fringe Food Festival is now running events all year round and I keep an eye out for the veg-friendly ones (which included the vegan Embrasse dinner we attended last year). When I noticed that an upcoming mushroom foraging event included a vegetarian catering option I was quick to forward it on to fungus fan Mike - he gave the nod and I nabbed he, your regular bloggin' Michael and I tickets to join in.
The event began and ended at the idyllic Bress Winery, where co-owner Adam gave us a tour of the wine- and cider-making facilities and winery dog Ollie showed us the best sticks.
Adam assisted Matt of Mushrooms Anonymous in showing us round a couple of their local foraging spots, giving us the basics on edible and inedible mushrooms, and as well as some fungus foraging etiquette. We picked plenty for lunch, and found a good few poisonous species to admire and leave alone.
Arriving back at Bress, I was pretty excited to see and smell potatoes baked in the outdoor wood-fired oven! Yep, they were for us and they were delicious.
Before the spuds came to the table we feasted on our haul, sopping up the juices with fluffy warm bread.
Though the grey ghosts didn't look quite as appetising as the pine mushrooms, they were excellent - I suspect the secret ingredient was butter.
The other highlight of the meal was these croquettes - their crisp crumbing gave way to a molten mushroom filling. Ironically, though, us vegetarians were fed slightly fewer mushrooms than the other guests. While they dined on beef cheeks and more mushies, we were treated to some tender glazed roast veges and a salad featuring locally grown chilli peppers. Though I'm an incorrigible sweet tooth, I appreciated the understated dessert that we finished up with - a poached pear half in thick syrup with a dollop of cream.
It was all catered by Jo from The Commoner, and has piqued my interest in the restaurant's veg-adaptable menu.
We love a road trip with Mike, had a lot of fun at this event, and are pretty keen to try some more mushroom hunting ourselves. Two more foraging frolics are scheduled, for May 26 and June 2. If you're lucky you may still be able to purchase tickets!
This Foraging Frolic has also been blogged on Pigging out around the world.