Mushroom season started early this year. Having heard reports of foragers stockpiling their loot, Chef and I excitedly set off for the state forest in search of our first mushrooms of the season.

Driving down the windy, dirt roads and through the tall trees, it didn’t take long to find the perfect place. We veered off the road, hopped out of the car, and wandered into the pines. The air was so crisp and fresh. The trees were high above and all around us. The needles crunched quietly underfoot and the breeze rustled high up in the trees. You could hear them creak and crack as they danced in the wind. There were rabbit-like holes big enough for me to crawl through and the first mushrooms to grab my attention were the vibrant bright red mushrooms from all my childhood stories. All of a sudden I felt like I was Alice and had fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

Now, you can’t just go and pick any mushroom you want. You really need to know what you’re looking for. Most mushrooms in Australia haven’t been identified and very few can be eaten. Luckily, Chef has over 15 years’ experience and was trained by some of the best to know exactly what to look for.

My vibrant red mushroom is the Amanita Muscaria, a toxic hallucinatory mushroom. I was given very clear instructions not to touch it.

We came across what may have been an edible oyster mushroom. On the other hand it could have been a deadly ghost mushroom. So I again stayed well away.

Finally, we found an abundance of what we had come searching for- the saffron milk caps. A flavoursome, edible mushroom. Check out our video on how to pick them.

Mushrooms are not the only produce now in season. Drop in to Smoke and Soda for a delicious new menu highlighting the seasonal produce available this autumn/winter.