I can’t remember how it exactly happened, but one Saturday I found myself with Steve collecting wild plants with Geraldine Kavanagh from Wicklow Wild Foods for his birthday. An Irish food ambassador if I ever met one, Geraldine is a professional forager working for Glendalough Distillery who runs foraging tours on the weekends. She is the grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood with red hair, green eyes, rugged hands and a big basket.
It was rainy and wet but as always the Irish are not deterred by the weather (in Spain half of the events that take place in this weather would be cancelled). At the end of the path we walked back through town and then through the forest were we found mushrooms, wild blueberries among other amazing plants. I was nibbling on perfectly ripe blackberries as we walked all morning and was “brave” to try everything we found raw nettles, wood sorrel, hawthorne.
The walk ended with a picnic of nettle soup, mushroom soup, blackberry muffins, dulse (a type of seaweed) scones, crabapple jelly, elderberry syrup all wild bounties of the Irish land and sea. It was perfect, and even a wet bum and holding a big umbrella over the picnic table did not change that. I loved all the big baskets that Geraldine had brought along with real crockery and glasses all very stylish.
To say that this was an eye and heart opener is a total understatement. Not only will I look for wild flowers and berries now on our walks but also I will love them no matter the weather.
I loved the walk so much that I convinced Geraldine to a private events event for my friends so I brought along 18 international and Irish friends 2 weeks later. The weather was glorious so the photos are from that walk! We were lucky to end up in Glendalough Distillery trying botanical and seasonal gins that use the plants and berries that Geraldine collects.