The Truffler

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Truffler is not alone at this fruitful time of year; there are plenty of us who could bore about spores for Britain. As well as the bands of professional mushroom gatherers combing the woods, as unearthed by Sybil Kapoor, there is an autumnal, mist-shrouded world of us amateur sniffers and foragers. Michael Lewy was introduced to mycology by an Italian friend, not by his day job as a building surveyor who comes face to face with dry rot fungus. His hobby eventually turned into Mycologue (47 Spencer Rise, London NW5 1AR; telephone 0207 485 7063; www.mycologue.co.uk), a mail order business for fellow fungi nuts. Novices ought to invest in the poster which identifies 40 species, although it also warns that "confirmation by other means is recommended". Books, specially designed knives and baskets are available for collectors, as are mushroom-covered cards and wrapping paper. There are still some places available on two-night mushroom-hunting breaks in Brittany during October - costing £99.50 per person,

Truffler is not alone at this fruitful time of year; there are plenty of us who could bore about spores for Britain. As well as the bands of professional mushroom gatherers combing the woods, as unearthed by Sybil Kapoor, there is an autumnal, mist-shrouded world of us amateur sniffers and foragers. Michael Lewy was introduced to mycology by an Italian friend, not by his day job as a building surveyor who comes face to face with dry rot fungus. His hobby eventually turned into Mycologue (47 Spencer Rise, London NW5 1AR; telephone 0207 485 7063; www.mycologue.co.uk), a mail order business for fellow fungi nuts. Novices ought to invest in the poster which identifies 40 species, although it also warns that "confirmation by other means is recommended". Books, specially designed knives and baskets are available for collectors, as are mushroom-covered cards and wrapping paper. There are still some places available on two-night mushroom-hunting breaks in Brittany during October - costing £99.50 per person, without travel. But for only £1, Mycologue's Mushroom Resources lists mushroom-hunting forays and events in this country.

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Truffler has been told off in no uncertain terms by the people who have bought the Ludlow Larder. The town's treasured deli is not about to close. Regular customers at the Ludlow Larder (01584 877353) will simply find new faces behind the counter from 25 September, when the new owners seamlessly take over from the old. The range of cheeses good enough for chefs Claude Bosi, Shaun Hill and Wayne Vickerage of Overton Grange will remain, as will all the other goodies. The new owners also plan to introduce mail order.

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Skye isn't quite up there with Ludlow - or Dartmouth, Windermere and Padstow, the other contenders for the title of foodiest place in Britain - but also has a concentration of fine restaurants and high-quality local produce. Cue a food festival, and the Skye and Lochalsh Food & Drink Festival offers an appetising range of events starting on Friday, 22 September. The Three Chimneys and House Over By, one of the best restaurants in the Highlands and Islands, is holding festival lunches and dinners, and the Talisker Distillery is holding tours and tastings all week. Next Saturday, there's a Food Fair at the Royal Hotel, Portree, and a mushroom walk (book on 01478 612137). On Monday, 25 September Lady Claire Macdonald is holding a cookery demonstration, and on the final day of the festival, Saturday 30 September, there's also a Real Ale festival.

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"I couldn't cook the equivalent of Mexican cheese on toast," poet Michael Donaghy said when he returned from a trip to Mexico earlier this year. The noted cook and raconteur has recanted, and on 29 September will be the first of several poets to cook a series of dinners organised by the Poetry Society (020-7420 9887) but not restricted to members. The evenings cost £17.50 including dinner and an aperitif - probably tequila for Donaghy's Mexican meal. In October, Sarah Maguire is cooking Lebanese cuisine; Scott Verner, who has worked as a chef, still hasn't made up his mind whether to give us a Japanese or a Cajun meal for January; and Mimi Khalvati's Iranian feast will end the series in March. Should dispel the myth that poets subsist on starvation rations.

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