Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mushroom Foraging at Kinnitty Castle

Last week I was invited along to go on a mushroom hunt on the grounds of the very beautiful Kinnitty Castle. Mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients and I especially love the wild variety. As a child foraging for mushrooms was an annual event, with basket loads of mushrooms collected during the months of September and October. My search for mushrooms hasn't been as successful in recent years, with only ever finding enough to throw in an omelette, so to get the opportunity of a guided tour around the stunning grounds of Kinnitty, with Mushrooms aplenty, sounded fantastic to me.


We arrived at the hotel around midday and were warmly greeted by Gillian and Tim from Host PR, Joanne, the sales and marketing manager and Andrew the general manager of Kinnitty. After a quick chat and a cuppa in the the library we were seated in the Sli Dala Restaurant. We enjoyed a lovely lunch while Bill O'Dea from Mushroom Stuff gave us a very informative chat on wild mushrooms, where to find them and what are and more importantly aren't edible. Bill has travelled world wide in his search for mushrooms and endeared us with many intriguing tales.







There were about twenty of us, so we separated into two groups. There were some of my fellow food bloggers in my group; Donal Skehan, Aoife McElwain and Kristin Jensen. We chose to take the more scenic tour of the grounds and headed into the woods with the hope of collecting a few mushrooms. The grounds of Kinnitty are really stunning with lots of winding walkways through the 650 acres of woodland and forests.




Sofie really had an eye for finding mushrooms and managed to collect most of our groups contribution!

We walked through the forest for about 2 hours and happily managed to find a few different varieties of Mushrooms. Bill had advised us to bring back anything we found and he would then identify them. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon, wandering through the woods and chatting with other foodies. We had a great laugh and naturally the topic of food and photography filled our talk.








On arriving back to the hotel we left the muddy boots to one side for a cosy pair of slippers and took a seat in front of a roaring log fire, where we were given some hot toddys. This was the perfect way to warm up after a stroll in the woods.

Bill then examined the different varieties of mushrooms that were picked. Unbelievably there were over fifty varieties retrieved of which a mere five were edible. Bill stressed the importance of never to forage for mushrooms without the guidance of an expert as so many wild mushrooms are poisonous









A few were brave enough to taste a tiny bit of the more unpleasant fungi. Seemingly it didn't taste too good-I didn't  volunteer!


These may look very beautiful but they are actually quite poisonous.
The edible varieties were then handed over to the chef and he simply fried these with a little butter and tarragon and they tasted gorgeous. 




I know this photo is very dark but I just loved the look of the wellies all lined up in the candle light . I think it gives a real feel for the  exclusive atmosphere that is offered at Kinnitty Castle.
All the others in the group were staying the night and once I saw the bedrooms I most certainly regretted that I had opted for heading home after the meal! The furniture in the bedroom was beautiful and each ensuite featured a stunning roll top bath. Kinnitty offers something so different it  would make an Ideal location for a romantic break.
Isn't this room just amazing!


Dinner was definitely a real treat as There were eight courses and each one was paired with a matching wine. I simply loved the room where we were dining and commented with fellow diners that this room would make an ideal choice for an intimate wedding. The dinner was delicious and the company at the table was marvellous.





Kinnitty Castle hotel is so unique, the grounds are magnificent and the staff are so friendly and welcoming. Even though Kinnitty Castle is less than an hours drive from here, I actually had never been there before. After this trip I most certainly will be making a return visit. The children would really love it and if ever myself and hubby get to head away on our own I know exactly where I'll be booking! 

13 comments:

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

What a lovely way to spend the day! Dinner sounds like it was an experience also! Do you feel comfortable selecting any mushrooms on your own after your lesson?

Nessa Robins said...

Do you know I would actually be more nervous after the talk. There are so many that look like they could either be edible or poisonous, so I wouldn't chance foraging alone. For the moment anyway!

Clare - An American in Ireland said...

Absolutely lovely photographs, Nessa! And everyone looks so stylish in their Wellies - love it. So sorry I missed this, it looks like an amazing day out and what a fab dinner you all had. Such a whimsical fun thing to do, foraging for mushrooms. Sigh. :)

Nessa Robins said...

I know Clare, I had to pinch myself as it was very different to how I normally spend my Saturdays! I'm sure there will be more foraging organised for next year, as this was a great success.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I would have loved this, it looks like a fascinating experience. I went wild photographing mushrooms this fall, but I didn't dare pick any to eat. I also found it incredibly hard to actually spot them, they blend in so ingeniously with the mosses and leaves. The hotel looks like quite a treat, thanks for a fun post.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Fantastic post Nessa ! I know it took tons of time to download all those photos. The mushrooms and their dishes looked so yummy but all the bright coats in the woods. Priceless. What a well dressed group of folk.

Magali said...

What a great idea, I wish they would make this into a special deal/mini break offer. I would certainly want to do it!
Great pictures, bet the mushrooms tasted gorgeous...

Imen McDonnell said...

Lovely post Nessa, next year I must come along! Great to see you on Friday if only for a short bit. Let's have cake/coffee soon! xx

Aoife Mc said...

What a lovely day it was, too! Thanks for making it such great craic, you're awesome company :)

Nessa Robins said...

Thanks Sue, it was a great day out! Donna, I thought that too, everyone was very well dressed for the occasion. Perfect models for advertising mushroom foraging :)
Magli I reckon there will definitely be enough interest in an annual mushroom hunt at Kinnitty. Here's hoping :)
Thanks Imen! We should organise some cakes & coffee very soon - I'd love that!
Why thank you very much Aoife!! It was fantastic to finally meet you in person and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the day. The company was fab :)

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

What an amazing day. The whole experience is something right up my alley. I liked how you were able to warm up after your hike and then to have an eight course meal. Great post.

Brownieville Girl said...

Sounds like a fantastic day!

Real eye opener on the mushrooms though only 10% edible!!!

Nessa Robins said...

Thank you very much! It's hard to believe that so many are poisonous. Bill did harp on the fact that inexperienced mushroom foragers should never eat anything they've picked!

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