Whisky Magazine Issue 131
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Three recipes using the bounty of nature's larder
There was a time when all people were deeply connected to the food available to us in the wild. We knew how to collect it and prepare it, what to preserve and what to avoid. Our tables followed the ebb and flow of the seasons. Many of my personal food heroes maintain this connection to the land and to our food heritage. They gather for the table from the hedgerows, forest and coast using knowledge and skills that date back to a time before the plentiful availability of shrink wrapped uniformly sized button mushrooms and supermarket blackberries that stay fresh for an unsettling length of time in the fridge.
The recent New Nordic food revolution has made wild food fashionable again, emphasising the importance of cooking what grows around us. Chefs don wellies and water-proofs to stalk the countryside in search of wild garlic, wood sorrel, monksbeard and ceps. As the days cool and shorten, I could not resist adding a warming whisky twist to this produce collected from nature's larder. In sherried whisky we find a perfect partner for the dense mushroom flavour that captures the magic of the forest floor. Maritime whiskies complement the saline tang of seaweed and the fragrance of softer unpeated whiskies complements the sweet fruit of the hedgerow.
If there was ever an activity that embodied Keats' Autumn of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness' it is mushroom hunting. Walking across a forest floor dappled with syrupy sunlight, basket in hand on the hunt for puff b...