Today is a very important day and not just because it’s the start of National Curry Week or even because it’s Scarlett Johansson’s birthday. No, today is a red letter day because it marks the start of the Trossachs Mushroom Festival and the eyes of the world’s mycologists are all focused on the fungi-rich area around Aberfoyle.
Whether you can tell a Spotted Toughshank from a Scurfy Deceiver at a hundred paces or even if you would have difficulty pointing out a Hairy Curtain Crust when it is in front of your face, the Festival has something for you.
The capers get underway tonight with dance, poetry and a ceilidh in the town’s Forth Inn. The guided fungal forays begin in earnest tomorrow with mushroom gurus such as Liz Holden and Nev Kilkenny venturing into the Queen Elizabeth Forest with their gathering baskets in hand.
More ceilidhs, Scottish dancing classes, theatre and even a whisky tasting help complete the festival. One of the foodie highlights of the weekend will be Sunday’s cookery and butchery demo held at the Forth Inn by master butcher, Jonathan Honeyman and the Inn’s chef Michael Clayton.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a whizz with mushrooms in the kitchen then you could enter Sunday afternoon’s cookery competition. There are categories for the best mushroom soup, starter and main course although not, thankfully, for a fungi-based dessert.
For anyone who glanced at yesterday’s little fungal quiz, the Reeking Bishop, Elves Elbow and Hairyleg Spurtle were the false fungi.