Living in Vancouver means having an abundance of beautiful natural scenery practically at your doorstep. With so many parks mountains in the vicinity, I realized that I wasn’t taking advantage of any of it. So on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I was invited to tag along on Swallow Tail’s foraging tour out in Lynn Headwaters to learn about the wild edibles in our area.
Chef Robin of Swallow Tail Canada commenced the afternoon with a walking tour by the BC Mills House. Within this tiny area alone, we were introduced to many different plants, roots, and berries that were edible - some of which I had never noticed on previous visits to the parks (ie. thimbleberry, currant, elderberry).
Here’s Robin explaining to us the rules of etiquette for foraging: Take some, not all. Always leave some behind.
Oooh, what root could she be digging up? My only hint is that it is intensely aromatic and is used for teas and candies. Nom.
We then headed into the forest to look for mushrooms and encountered quite a few dangerous ones. I don’t want to spoil the tour for you..but remember this: if in doubt, don’t eat it..or your stomach will be very angry with you. You’ll also learn about how silly mushroom names are. Hah!
Side note: For every mushroom we found, there were probably 4 dogs strolling through the park with their owners. Dog heaven.
Alright! Onto the picnic-style lunch with some perfectly paired fresh and local ingredients.
The smoked salmon wrap with cucumber, tomatoes, basil, and Bulgarian feta was very light and filling. I also tried a few Begonia petals, which were slightly tart. With such a beautiful hue of red, they’d be a nice addition for plating a meal.
A foraging tour with mushrooms wouldn’t be complete without some actual mushrooms to eat, would it? This here is the mushroom pate made from porcini, chanterelles, and oyster mushrooms, which we were also given the recipe for by Chef Robin.
The pate wasn’t as creamy as I was expecting but was pleasantly earthy and still quite moist and soft. The recipe could easily be tweaked to make this a vegetarian-friendly dish too (it used chicken stock), which is going to come in handy for future parties.
Now equipped with a little more knowledge of the edibles around me, if the future ever becomes like the Hunger Games, I wouldn’t go hungry. =P
Wild Foraging Walking Tour + Lunch
Duration: 2 hours
Public tours start at 12:30 on Sundays at $39 a person. (May be cancelled if there are less than 6 people)
Private tours for $99 (min. 4 people)