Lucky café in foodie heaven after landing record-breaking 'miracle' fungi
PUBLISHED: 19:11 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:11 23 October 2019
A seaside café in Southwold has said it is in "foodie heaven" after landing what it believes could be a record haul of one of the world's rarest edible fungi.
Foragers working for The Sail Loft restaurant and café bar managed to find 15kg of ceps, the globe's second most expensive mushrooms.
It described the ceps, also known as porcini or penny ben mushrooms, as "gold dust" - as they generally only grow in small quantities during a short period in autumn.
Café workers are keeping tight-lipped about the source of the find, describing its mystery location on private land in East Suffolk as "top secret".
But they believe their haul "might just better" a recent Welsh patch, which was thought to be a record-breaker.
Jonathan Nicholson, chef-proprietor of The Sail Loft, said: "We showcase the best in local seasonal produce and nature's larder wherever we can.
"These pictures show the epic proportions of this haul, we would normally only see a few pounds in a whole autumn so this is the stuff of miracles and foodie heaven.
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"Now it is getting cooler this week, the harvest will start slowing down.
"Free wild food is the most local, seasonal and often the tastiest you can find - and it is definitely the case with ceps."
Mr Nicholson was quick to point to those who might be tempted to go foraging for their own mushrooms in the wake of The Sail Loft's discovery to take extreme care.
He pointed to the maxim "never munch on hunch", meaning people should never eat mushrooms unless they are sure it is safe to do so.
People also can only forage on land with the owner's permission - and Mr Nicholson said ethical foragers leave behind at least half of what they find, to ensure the continuity of the species and to provide food for wildlife.
"Most important is the complete certainty of what you are picking," he said.
"Several of the UK's most toxic fungi are ones that to an inexperienced forager would look pretty similar to supermarket mushrooms.
"We are not just talking a bad case of an upset tummy, these will hospitalise you for certain and could be your last supper - and I'm not over-dramatising the risk!
"We certainly recommend going out on a foray with an expert and, as we do, following the foragers' code."