Teaching the art of foraging to the next generation

August 25th, 2012 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Travel

Typically, you walk in your favorite superstore, choose, pay and go home with food.

Wild strawberries are growing just about anywhere!

Every other step I took in the wilderness surrounding my home town of Verbier brought me flashback of absolute perfection in terms of taste. No, the food wasn’t a secret recipe that my Grand-Ma whispered to my Mom (although there are some massively good recipes in her head!), neither was it a local recipe made by a super chef… But instead, the responsible for all that perfectness was no one else than Mother Nature.

Yes… every other ingredient found in the wild is just the way Mother Nature meant to have it.

08:30 A.M. and 6 degrees on the thermometer

Good morning Mrs. Venison!

Although the day couldn’t have been more sunny than this, we wake up at a chilly 6 degrees Celsius to later jump to 26 degrees; and guess who was hanging out outside our windows that morning? A superb 2 years old venison! My son (and yes, me too!) was in awe – and for the rest of the day, I decided to bring Clement along with me for a little hike to show him what Nature had prepared for us in the largest free garden ever: the wilderness. Wild strawberries were his favourite until he discovered wild blueberries. We actually walked back there to harvest blueberries to mix them with his yogurt for breakfast! But on the other hand, he didn’t understand the use of getting all hurt by wild juniper bushes to harvest some fresh juniper berries.

Wild chive, thyme, rose hip let alone mushrooms or pepper mint all have such a strong smell, almost pungent, that I would love to capture it in a box to share with you! Pick the leaves of the mint, boil water from the nearby spring and you’ve got the most incredible infusions.

Wild juniper berries – celebrated in sauerkraut and gin spirit – the berries will turn black once ripe.

Wild chive… can you spot it? These guys grow in very wet areas…

When Nature is so generous, I have a hard time understanding the use of chemicals in food…

When my 7 years old son smelled fresh mint growing next to a little water stream, he looked at me and asked me if this was how candies were made, I said yes, this is where flavors (should) come from… I wanted to tell him 1 million other things about food, but that precious moment of discovering the origin of real taste was worth the whole trip.

Clement’s favorite: Wild blueberries!

Wild thyme makes the mountain smell THAT good!

Wild pepper mint!

We also happen to cultivate an absolutely organic garden, that happens to take care of itself using a rain water hydration system installed by my brother (no, not the one you see on the below photo!). All of this is happening at 1800 meters above sea level. Clement dug potatoes for the first time and as a (tyrannic chef) father, I made him wash, peel, cut, cook and eat them for dinner! I could read the expressions on his face all along telling me this was 100 time more interesting than our last visit at Disneyland!

Clement digging his first potatoes! (yay! I love the barefoot attitude!)

Super happy with his day’s harvest!

Stunning beauty nurtured by rain and sunshine!

Oregano is another herb that grows CRAZY in my brother’s garden, so I couldn’t hold back but bake an oregano bread in our wood fire oven – does it get any better than this?

The dough fermenting under the sun…

Oregano loaf, dusted with corn meal, baked in our wood fire oven.

The day ends with the sun and the moon playing hide and seek over the Alps…


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