Friday, September 19, 2008

The Newbury Business Group - networking now with added wild mushroom foraging

This morning started bright and early with Morgan PR's weekly attendance at the Newbury Business Group, West Berkshire's foremost independent networking group. A flurry of late apologies had dwindled the group to two tables and added an intimacy to proceedings and did nothing to detract from the collaborative nature that make this group so great.

I feel a special mention in despatches for one of the group's members, Cat Shepherd (pictured), who never fails to deliver a thought provoking one minute presentation from way out of left field - fields somewhere near the Pot Kiln to be honest! That is the heavenly pub owned by chef Mike Robinson in Frilsham, and he is also behind the Game Cookery School at Yattendon which is who Cat represents at the networking group.

Previous one minutes have ranged from lessons in knife sharpening through to advice on bread making; however today she came with a basket bursting with mushroom that she had picked before coming to the meeting. It was truly bountiful and neatly promoted the wild mushroom foraging courses being offered at the cookery school.

There is huge interest in the field of foraging for wild mushrooms at the moment. Few people realise that with our warm, damp climate we are better suited for mushrooms than either Italy or France, where gathering wild fungi is a national obsession. The area around the Pot Kiln is abundant during the months of October and November, during which time they can pretty much guarantee to find a diverse range of species, including ceps, chanterelles and blewits.

As wild mushrooms have a very short season indeed, you need to be quick off the mark in booking a place. They only run the course for a few weeks in October and November. Matthew Dorich, a local mushroom expert, teaching the courses, which cost £230.

There are plans for the Newbury Business Group to 'go on tour' one morning soon where we will meet at the cookery school and have breakfast there!

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