Food plays such an important part in our life. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation which creates tradition, nostalgia and a sense of belonging. This is what we want to share with you through foraging. A memory that you and your children will always have and pass down to the next generation when you are long gone.
Soda Bread always transports me back to my Granny’s Kitchen Table in Ireland. I would love to eat it still warm, with my feet dangling down from the kitchen table. We would discuss the outfits that had been on Dallas that week as we lathered on the thick butter. It was a really special time.
My Mama baked soda bread too and it wasn’t until I started school that I realised other children had their sandwiches made from a different bread! A single slice brings my mind back to my Mama and her brilliant ability to bring history alive and tell stories of the Ireland she grew up in. She used to say “Chomh searbh le craomh” - “as bitter as wild garlic” if someone was a bit mean. That bitterness of garlic is only felt near the end of the season when it is past its sensational best.
Whenever we went to the Wild Garlic patch for the first time my Mama would tell the story of Sweeny, a 7th century King of Dal Araidhe, who was banished to walk the Irish countryside as half-bird and half-man. He was left to wander madly because he was hostile towards Christianity that had started to flood the emerald isle and he assaulted an esteemed cleric Ronan.
Legend had it that while Father Ronan was marking out the boundary of a new church, an angry Sweeney grabbed the Father and flung him into an ice-cold lake where he sank with no trace. Ronan was meant to have cursed Sweedy saying “He shall roam Ireland, mad and bare. He shall find death on the point of a spear.”
I was told that the exiled King lived among the plants and wild animals and it is wild garlic that helped him to stay alive as he took all the nutrients from the forest floor. Which only helped to build this sense of wild garlic as being magical!
Old Irish Brehon laws highlight the importance of this magical plant - the fine for taking wild garlic, seaweed or wild apples from private land without permission was to the value of two and a half dairy cows!
There's no greater joy than taking my daughters out to the Wild Garlic patch and telling them the magical tales my mama told me. It's so special to be able to share these moments and I know I'll treasure the memories for years to come.
We've been helping families across the UK and Ireland create these pockets of magic in their own lives in our Wild Garlic Festival.
The doors to the festival might be closed, but there's still time to enjoy the wild garlic season, with the newest instalment of our Foraging Fairytales Series: Wild Garlic Festival.
We've uncovered the age-old folklore of days gone by, travelling the world in Wild Garlic folklore; from the ancient forests of the UK, to the star carpeted glades of Ireland and the legendary Romanian mountains.
To help you fill your basket safely, we've compiled the ultimate guide to foraging wild garlic. You'll find illustrated guides to identifying this wonderful spring plant, along with it's dubious doppelgangers- the lookalikes you definitely don't want to pick!
Between the covers, you'll find 23 of our finest Wild Garlic recipes: from Friday Night Fakeaways the whole family will adore, to simple wild garlic preserves that will keep the flavour alive in your kitchen long after the season has passed.
Sound like the perfect guide for your collection? Get your copy here!