Matthew Bunch, from Crumbs of Sussex

PUBLISHED: 13:07 25 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:12 20 February 2013

Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch, Sussex Life's resident foodie on the best of local and seasonal fare...

The romance of hunting for wild mushrooms

One of the many outdoor pursuits I would love to try this year is foraging for wild mushrooms. Without sounding too gushy, there seems to me something rather romantic about hunting for mushrooms, perhaps more to do with the adventure and mystery than the actual mushrooms themselves.

Whatever your views on foraging, I don't think any type of wild food hunting provides as much satisfaction or incredible results as picking your own mushrooms from the forest. It also amazes me at the amount of secrecy involved and the reluctance of the more successful hunters to reveal the locations of their finds.

One lady who seems to have perfected the art is Deborah Wood. A true aficionado, Deborah began foraging as a young girl with her mother in Gloucestershire and has now transported her knowledge to hunting in the Sussex countryside.

I absolutely adore chanterelle. They are really something delightful and seeing a box full of the little golden stems is nearly enough to make me forget my dedication as a carnivore. Deborah forages for chanterelles from July through to October and says that they enjoy woods with beech, oak, pine and birch. They are egg-yolk in colour, taste peppery and are found in clusters under those trees.

Deborah's next favourite mushroom to look for is the cep, more commonly known as the porcini, a perfect mushroom for risottos - you can find them under the same trees as the chanterelles around Pulborough Brooks and woodland walks around Petworth. But she assures me there are hundreds of other places yet to find.

There are many types of wonderful mushrooms to discover, but I would recommend checking which ones are edible before embarking on a hunt of your own. If you'd rather leave the search to the professionals then pop in and see us at Crumbs and you may be lucky enough to take home some of Deborah's fantastic finds.

Matthew Bunch works for Crumbs of Sussex - a fresh local produce store in Washington, West Sussex. Crumbs has taken over the We Love Local home delivery service and Matthew will be taking up Melissa Love's mantle to give us an insight into what's fresh, local and delicious.

Visit - and if you have any tips on your exotic favourites growing wild please tell us online

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