An introduction to the beauty of wild food

Seasonal supper: Blackberries and venison tartare work exceedingly well and are a great introduction to the beauties of wild food

Blackberries are beautiful picked straight of the bush

Blackberries are beautiful picked straight of the bush

 

A few weeks ago, I was in Copenhagen, attending the Vild Mad Festival (Wild Food Festival). It was a one-day public festival celebrating wild food as a touchstone of our relationship to the natural world.

They were also launching a new wild food app. I got a chance to tour the festival with René Redzepi and the Danish minister of food. It was great to see a government official on the ground of a food festival concerned with teaching the next generation about wild food.

We have a long tradition of wild food in Ireland though much if it has been erased

We pottered through the fields outside the city of Copenhagen and snacked on blackberries, sorrel, watercress, crab apples, and freshly killed venison. Little stations scattered across the terrain of the festival fed participants wild rose sorbet, fried hazelnuts and cep mushrooms and venison tartare with blackberries. 

We have a long tradition of wild food in Ireland though much if it has been erased by the advent of modernisation in the 20th century. This is the same for most Western or developed countries.

I’m sure many of you remember reading Heaney’s poem Blackberry. I always like to reread it at this time of year as the blackberries start to poke their head out from the undergrowth. They’re beautiful picked straight of the bush. 

Deer meat is not consumed enough in this country and we should try and eat it once a week when in season

Blackberries and venison tartare work exceedingly well and are a great introduction to the beauties of wild food. Deer meat is not consumed enough in this country and we should try and eat it once a week when in season. 

Dice your venison loin and season with sea salt, a little oil and malt vinegar. You want to get the balance right. Finely chop some chives and mix them through the meat. Place your tartare on a plate and dress the top with quartered blackberries. Finish with some wood sorrel if you have it or flat leaf parsley. Grill yourself a massive piece of sourdough and dig in.

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