There’s a whole world of diverse flavour beyond the fields, but the truth is that most of us play it safe with the few, farmed
flavours we already know.
At Natoora, we are always in pursuit of even better flavour; flavours that can take something simple somewhere unexpected and revolutionise the way we eat.
With this in our sights we’ve recently established a specialist wild foraging department - The Wild Room - in collaboration with the most respected forager in the business. Mike de Stroumillo has decades of experience foraging for the best restaurants in the country.
Together we have brought together a community of foragers, uniting local experts who hold the keys to some of the world’s rarest, richest and most remote wild plants.
Wild plants have never been selectively bred, and so their flavour and temperament - established in the wild, centuries back - remains unchanged. To our city palates, used to mild, often bland flavours, the potent flavours of wild plants present a thrill and a challenge. They remind us of how fierce and complex flavour can be. A tiny amount is all it takes to reinvent a familiar dish.
Wild plants play hard to get and finding them can take serious expertise. Most of us can pick wild garlic; but hardly any of us want to scale a cliff-face for rock samphire. Foraging Cornish seaweeds means wetsuits, and marsh samphire - growing just a handful of centimetres out of marsh swamp - makes for backbreaking work on unstable, boggy ground.
Extreme flavours require extreme skills, and at the very least a hardcore work ethic. There is also the serious footnote that these are fragile colonies. They need to be treated with respect and, as consumers, we need to be able to trust they were picked respectfully.
The Wild Room takes great care to forage sparsely over large expanses - so as not to overpick - and will never uproot plants unless they are invasive (in which case, doing so helps to rebalance the local ecosystem.)
At Natoora, we have foraged produce available through the whole year. However because wild plants are as uncompromisingly seasonal as it gets, that selection is in flux. Something is always growing: be it Wild Garlic, Wild Asparagus and Hops in Spring; Scottish girolles, Caesar’s mushrooms and Ceps from Europe in Summer; Douglas Fir, Juniper and Wild Blueberries in Winter.
Come and reclaim the wilderness with us this season.