Jonathan Hamnett runs “Wildcamp” weekends in the wilds of Brandenburg outside of Berlin, which are kind of like a reset button on your mind and body. Jonathan is a real fun guy…geddit? I joined a small group one weekend, to camp out in the tangled forest of a farm where over the course of three days our main source of food would be the wild mushrooms we foraged.
Jonathan also provided an organic pantry: nuts and raisins kept us going during the day while we foraged; at night we feasted on our bounty. We were very lucky that one of our small group was a chef: We made bread in a cast iron pot over the fire; brewed coffee and baked eggs in the ashes of the fire; made “Stockbrot” (bread on a stick, toasted over the campfire); we smushed berries against a rock to create a delicious berry paste for our porridge the next morning. A log became our chopping board, and Jonathan showed us how to use a piece of paper birch to start a fire. We were eating for fuel: energy to keep us going during the day; and heat, so our full bellies would fuel our body heat during the night to keep us warm when temps dropped.
Maybe it was because we had only eaten nuts and raisins for the last 10 hours but our freshly cooked haul of wild mushrooms at the end of a long day of foraging was a taste sensation.
Chicken of woods sauteed over the campfire
Log chopping board
A Chanterelle – and a faker! We only found 3 Chanterelles all weekend
Chicken of the woods
Shaggy parasols and Blushers
Bread baked in the cast iron pot over the campfire
“Stockbrot” – traditionally for kids: dough is wrapped around a stick and toasted off in the campfire – so good!
Baked eggs in the ashes
Jonathan Hamnett – Master Forager
It was a very physical weekend: our main task each day was to forage – enough for four adults to eat a hearty meal at the end of the day. There were plenty of mushrooms around (late September) especially Porcini. I will not forget tucking into a plate of sauteed Chicken of the Woods that first evening, and I think my favourite of the weekend was the Cauliflower Fungus.
Especially great was that I could bring my dog along, she was in her element romping around the forest with us. I asked in advance if I could bring her so it’s best to check with Jonathan if you would like to do the same. There are sheepdogs, roaming goats, chickens and sheep on the farm to be aware of.
Jonathan offers foraging courses the whole year round. Highly recommended! (Not a sponsored post. I just loved it. Also, I probably had the least mushroom knowledge of the group and learned a lot over the weekend, so don’t let that put you off.)
When we hiked back to the train station and realised the kneipe was open, we ordered beers and inspected the foraging haul from the 5K walk. Those were the best-tasting beers of my life..
Check out my post about the Wildcamp weekend over on the Kindland.