In the last few weeks, while we’ve all been turning over in our beds, clinging to the last remaining remnants of sleep, René Redzepi and his team have been walking the woodlands and combing the forests of Denmark foraging for nature’s autumn bounty.
The plentiful rainfall in late summer, which followed the unusually hot and dry season has given us a bumper crop of mushrooms this year. The season starts in August and continues until the first frost. In the meantime, we are given some of nature's most beautiful and delicious gifts. This year, climate change has pushed the season forward by a few weeks, but it is hoped that mild conditions will continue beyond the end of October and extend it.
There is nothing that so captures the flavours and atmosphere of the game and forest season as mushrooms. They pair perfectly with game meat and berries of the autumn harvest with their subtle yet complex flavour profiles.
Mushroom hunting during the season is a popular activity in Denmark during the autumn, but inexperienced hunters should always exercise caution as it is not without risks. Some poisonous varieties resemble edible mushrooms very closely so always consult with an expert before eating your mushrooms.
If like many, you’ve been following chef Redzepi’s social media accounts you’ll have seen a steady stream of weird and wonderful fungi, corns berries and game the Noma 2.0 chef has been foraging to bolster his autumn menu.
From mushrooms you peel like a banana, to a jiggling shaggy ink cap, there’s a fine collection of seasonal ingredients that means Noma is going to taste like the autumn.
Redzepi is clearly passionate about mushrooms and the haul of fungi you can see in the kitchen seems big enough to stock the menu for the whole season.
Of course, Redzepi will create world-leading gastronomy from these ingredients, but the chef’s passion for these organisms and his handling of the mushrooms are beautiful to look at.