Friday, 26 April 2013

Wild Garlic Treasure Hunt


As you are probably aware, in the UK, the wild garlic season is now fully upon us. And you should be aware, for in the immortal words of Harry Nilsson, everybody's talkin'. Bloggers, chefs, cooks, food writers, foragers, dogs, cats, my Nan and a whole cross-section of society that I can't be bothered to list right now. If you didn't know, then I would suggest that you have been living under a rock or have perhaps been hiding your cranium up your posterior. But no matter, word on the street is that the humble allium ursinum is out. Definitely out out and out and about. I know this because around this time of year, I do tend to get a lot of enquiries about the stuff and everyone starts talkin' at me, in oh so slightly desperate ways. 

"Hey man, like, I heard you've got a stash of green growing in your garden and well, you know, its been such a hard winter man and like, I just want a couple of leaves man, you know, to stick in some soup or something like that and jesus man, its just been so long, I just want to taste some of that pungent chive man, please, I know you got some, oh God, just give me some please, oh pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease....."

As such, in the past, a lot of dodgy meetings on street corners have been arranged where I have swapped some wild garlic for a token slice of cake or some of last night's dinner. Which is absolutely fine by me. I am only too happy to give wild garlic away, as it does indeed grow rampantly around our cherry tree at home and I am always at odds as to what to do with it. I even stuck some on toast and grilled it with manchego the other day, just by way of trying to make a dent. Then I had an idea.
Given the level of interest at the moment in ramsons, would people be up for a little bit of a challenge, a bit of fun in order to get their hands on their very own wild garlic to plant at home? Would people be up for a wild garlic treasure hunt around London taaaan? I put this notion across on Twitter yesterday and quite a few seemed up for the task, so after mulling the idea over some more, I have decided to go for it.

So the premise is this. Next Thursday, on May 2nd, I am going to head up to London with five lush and full wild garlic plants; leaves, flowers, bulbs, soil and all. I will head to my first location at 10AM and then tweet a clue as to where I am, using the hashtag #wildgarlictreasurehunt. I will then wait for 30 minutes or until someone finds me and then I will move onto the next location and then tweet a new clue. The area I propose to move around in will be central in town, with the occasional hop over the river. And the thinking is to go on and on until hopefully, I have been found five times and all five garlic plants are given away and everyone is all smiles and laughter.

There is of course, an inherent danger that my tweets will be totally ignored and I will spend the whole day traipsing the streets, going from one place to another, carrying a bag of heady stink and the whole endeavour will be pointless. If that does happen, I will simply head to a pub, cry into several pints of beer before going home at midnight on the vomit comet back to Essex and throw clumps of wild garlic at everyone on my carriage. I will probably get arrested but I still believe this little project is worth a go.

You might be asking yourself "Why?" at this point in proceedings and my answer would be "Why not?" I haven't indulged in anything nonsensical lately with regards to the blog and I do like to embark on some social meeja experimentation from time to time. Using Twitter will be interesting, as lately it has become a rather self-serving platform, a fog horn to promote one's profile and of course, I am as guilty as any with regards to that. Christ, this whole idea is one big fist of 'look at me!' But once upon a time, there was a strong sense of humour and community on there, of people getting together for the simple love of food and larks. And I just wonder with this little project if we could scrape some of that back.

So what say ye fud people of Twitter, are you with me? Do you want some bloody wild garlic or wot?

  
Oh and please do spread the word......

8 comments:

Miss Whiplash said...

This is utter utter genius.
Other tan the part where I'll be at work :(

Shu Han said...

you are such a cheeky bastard. jealous of your wild garlic plants.

things we make said...

My garden is awash with wild garlic at the moment, it spreads like wild fire doesn't it? The chickens keep eating it, so they stink of garlic all the time...I have yet to note it tainting the eggs. So I commend your treasure hunt plan....but I won't be on it if that's ok!

I plan to use some of mine to flavour the homemade cheese I have in progress.

Danny Kingston said...

Miss Whiplash - But, you never know, I might just be in your neck of the woods at some point

Shu Han - bloody hell, you really are jealous aren't you

Things we make - it does, goes nuts, shame you won't be making the trip down but inspired idea regarding the cheese

Miss Whiplash said...

@things we make - I love this. Ready seasoned chickens :)

Ollie Mustill said...

Spent 4 hours on Hampstead Heath 2 weekends ago unsuccessfully trying to track some down. Will be keeping a hawk-eye on Twitter.

Ed said...

Sounds good boss. Will be on the lookout.

Fuad Yusif said...

I collect wild garlic in zone 3 of North London for about 7-8 years. I collect usually 2-3 shopping bags. I use 90% to make pickles and rest for salads and omlets. After me max what left only 1-2 bags to collect. So it is not enough to share even for 2 people.
Sorry can not share location but wish you luck in your search. I spent 5 years to find this spot and before was traveling to south west every year.
So next weekend is my day as this winter was too long and garlic is late...