Lunching on the landscape – foraging with Tobyn Excell

 |   |  Podcast, Real Kombucha Meets 
Lunching on the landscape – foraging with Tobyn Excell

Do you like knowing where your food comes from, who it was tended by and what drives their passions? Are you a foodie that likes astounding ideas, often incredibly simple but in need of someone brave enough and keen enough to step forward and try them?

Of course you do. That’s why you subscribe to the Real Podcast. And if you’re not subscribing, it’s about time you clicked that all-important button on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts or wherever you’re listening.

At Real Kombucha, we’re in love with these ideas, and we meet people having these eureka moments all the time. People who can’t live life without being completely involved in the things they love – things that are pretty much guaranteed to make the world a better place. And so we love to go and meet them in their environment and find out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. That’s what the Real Podcast is all about.

Meet Tobyn Excell

Foraging with Tobyn Excell Kent

This week’s podcast is a particularly special one, and therefore a slightly longer one. After all, it’s not everyday you get to forage for your lunch. I got on a quick train out of London and spent the afternoon with the humble, lovely and hugely passionate Tobyn Excell. Allow me to do the hard sell before we begin.

Tobyn Excell runs Sæl Projects, which in turn runs SixSeats, a pop-up that you will want to book into this very instant. Once a month, Tobyn invites six guests down to his beautiful 300-year-old cottage in Kent. Together, you’ll forage for your food and learn about how we need to rebuild our relationship with the landscape around us. You’ll pick hogweed, you’ll learn how best to tackle stinging nettles with the evening’s menu in mind. And then you’ll go back to the house, get comfy around the kitchen table and chat with Tobyn and the other guests as he works up an incredible meal inspired by recipes sourced from local monasteries, abbeys, the British Library – anywhere that keeps records of how we’ve used our surroundings in the past.

It may sound medieval, but Tobyn’s take on all of this is as modern as it comes. And it’s vital. Spend an afternoon and evening out there, entirely off grid, and see how living in the moment, invigorated by the things around you, is something we all need to do far more of. Do yourself a favour. Book now.

Before we get going with the interview itself, I just want to warn you. This is a very Real podcast. It’s done with a sensitive microphone and things can get a bit bumpy. But that’s what it’s all about. Listen out for the birds and the bees – quite literally – and the wind rushing through the orchard leaves. Listen out for the wood-pigeons and even the dive-bombing Spitfire. This is local podcasting at its finest. We’re going off-road.

Foraging with Tobyn Excell

“You’re healthier if you’re in connection with your environment. To be completely disconnected with your environment and with your natural world is short-sighted.” – Tobyn Excell

Heading out from Peacock House, the 300-year-old cottage at which Tobyn Excell presents his SixSeats supper clubs, the tracks through the neighbouring woods are no different to any other countryside trails you might find across the UK. What’s different about this walk, however, is that Tobyn has you keeping your eyes wide open. Your phone is off and your sense of inquisitiveness is suddenly very much alive.

On the way we forage for the following tidbits. Make sure you listen to the podcast to learn how Tobyn cooks with them.

We tried garlic mustard…

…Lady’s Smock (aren’t these wonderful names?)…

…Golden Saxifrage…

…Wood Sorrel…

…Hogweed Seeds…

And we learnt about these amazing Horsetails and how they inspired John Napier’s development of logarithms.

Back at the house, Tobyn knocked together a fantastic lunch – far more simple than the meals you’ll have at SixSeats, but no less soul-nourishing. He pulled in beetroots from the garden…

…local marsh plants…

…wine grapes…

…some elderberry-cured duck from a neighbouring farm…

…oh, and some extraordinary pre-prepared cream soda made from sticky willy kombucha. (Yes, you read that right.) This was going to be some lunch.

The final meal was a spread of fresh bread, toasted with a layer of beetroots, marsh plants and sea blite, topped with the cured duck, fresh apples from the garden and some foraged purple dew plants. We paired it with a chilled glass of Dry Dragon by Real Kombucha. Very heaven indeed.

So, if you’re a foodie in London or the South East, or simply someone fascinated by great ideas and the people putting them to good use, book in to try Tobyn Excell’s SixSeats. You really can’t go wrong.