Quinta do Vale is partnering with two local wild food specialists, Clio Wondrausch and Laura Williams, to host a FORAGING & FERMENTATION COURSE during June 2019. Foraging is a whole lot more than grabbing some free food on a walk in the countryside. It reconnects people with nature in a profound and beautiful way. As Monica Wilde puts it, “Once you can identify plants, appreciate their culinary and medicinal values, and the wondrous ways in which nature works its sentient biochemical magic, you are left with a deep awe and respect for nature, the plants, the fungi, the algae and all living things. When you are reconnected to nature in this most intimate way, your passion for this Earth becomes a love affair.” Learn to readily identify local wild edibles on walks with Laura and Clio, and with me on and around Quinta do Vale. You not only get the benefit of 3 different people’s knowledge and experience with these plants, but have your identification skills thoroughly reinforced. We’ll make some delicious dishes with what we collect and combine them with cultivated foods to make all manner of ferments. Explore the role of fermentation in food preparation, its health benefits, and the many forms fermented food can take. We’ll prepare sauerkrauts, salsas, kvass, kimchis, sodas and beers, sourdough breads, kombuchas, kefirs … And as the week progresses, we’ll explore our growing sensitivity to the wisdom of the plant world by letting our collective imaginations loose to try new combinations of flavours and techniques. Those living locally can take some away with them (and anyone else who can fit them into their luggage). Those who are staying on for the Permaculture Design Course immediately afterwards can sample them too and start to pass on what they’ve learned to other participants in the PDC.
Fermentation and wild food have been been mainstays of quinta cuisine for many years. It’s just a normal part of life. This is how it was in our past and how it needs to be again if we’re to recover our deep relationship to the Earth that sustains us. Some of my discoveries were entirely accidental. Others learned from others. All have been improved by experimentation and regular use. My sources of inspiration are mostly the plants themselves and what pops into my head in the moment, but I also follow Dearbhla Reynolds, Sandor Ellix Katz and Pascal Baudar.
The foraging & fermentation course runs between June 17th to 21st 2019. If you’re staying with us, then you can come from June 16th to 22nd. (Weekends are kept free for arrivals and departures and exploring the area or enjoying the many other events and activities which go on here throughout the summer.) You can also stay on for the Permaculture Design Course which runs at Quinta do Vale from June 23rd to July 7th immediately afterwards. Families are welcome, though the course isn’t suitable for very young children.
ACCOMMMODATIONAccommodation will be onsite camping at Quinta do Vale. There is one 4-berth caravan, suitable for a couple, a few friends or a family. 2 campervans can be accommodated. Spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. One pitch has solar electricity and water, the other doesn’t. Otherwise please bring a tent. We have level, purpose-built pitches. Three meals a day are provided, mostly organic. There will be fresh food in season from the quinta and other local organic producers, dried staples from our local wholefood coop, and the remainder from local markets. We will share the cooking. All diets can be catered for. Please make your food preferences clear at the time of booking. We have hot (solar-heated) showers and composting toilets. There is abundant off grid electricity for phone/tablet/laptop charging and course participants have the use of refrigeration/kitchen facilities/laundry plus the social/hang out space in the communal building and any evening activities (movies, etc) we might put on. For more details about the quinta and the immediate area, see the quinta page and the volunteering page. At the end of the day, you can swim and relax at the river beach in the village below the quinta, take advantage of the free wifi at the open air café nearby, explore the area, meet the locals and other eco-residents, get involved in Benfeita events and generally experience life off grid in a still-beautiful mountain landscape, even though it was decimated by fires in October 2017. WHAT TO BRING
comfortable clothes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty