Foraging Tour (One day, leave from St Petersburg)
Forage for food in Russia's unspoilt countryside and woodlands
Foraging for wild mushrooms and berries in the woods is a very popular activity in Russia. The ability to identify and prepare edible specimens is usually passed down generation to generation. After heavy rain, from June onwards, whole families venture into the nearest forest to pick bucketfuls of mushrooms, which are cooked and eaten for dinner upon return or alternatively canned, dried or marinated for later consumption. Berries are eaten fresh, mixed with sugar, or used to make pies, jams, jellies, soups, juices, desserts and liqueurs, among other things.
This tour offers an unique opportunity to enjoy the true Russian countryside: early in the morning drive from St. Petersburg and within 1-1,5 hours arrive at the Karelian Peninsula (an ecologically clean and nature protected area). You will find yourself in beautiful wild country, in forests abounding in mushrooms and berries. We'll provide you with baskets, knives, whistles and rain-coats (just in case!).
Your experienced group leader/instructor (10 people maximum in one group with one instructor) will show you how to identify edible mushrooms and berries and where and when to search for them. For example, some mushrooms have red, brown, yellow, blue and green colouration and can be easily spotted. Others can be more difficult to find - some mushrooms require very specific conditions - they only grow at the base of a certain type of tree, or on a certain soil. Your group leader will also talk about ways of treating nature with respect, using a clean knife to cut the mushrooms and taking care when picking not to destroy the mushroom spores, which are very delicate. This Foraging Tour will show you some interesting features of Russian nature and your experienced guide will be on hand at all times to answer any questions.
Mushrooms that you are most likely to encounter in the Russian woods are: porcini mushrooms, yellow chanterelle, red uder-aspen and under-birch mushrooms, russula, true milk-caps, buttery and orange milk mushrooms, and autumn stump-growers.
Any time you go to the woods, from June to late September, there are seasonal edible berries to pick, and a bowl of sweet fresh berries will be a nice reward for you! More than 40 different edible berries grow in our Northern woods, most common are: wild strawberries, raspberries, bilberries, lingonberries, blackberries, cloudberries, rowan berries, whortleberries, cranberries, and others.
Two or three hours of foraging passes quickly as picking in plentiful quantities is really thrilling and exiting. Afterwards, enjoy a nice picnic close-by and then your driver will bring you back to the city.
- The Karelian Peninsula is often called the "blue eyed" peninsula because of its many lakes and rivers. Swimming and sun bathing on the nearby beaches are relaxing and can be great fun!
- You can stay longer (or even overnight) and visit a nearby dacha (summer house) and enjoy a Russian dinner with a local family. The mushrooms you picked will be cooked for you and, with a glass of wine, this is the perfect way to relax after your day of foraging!