08 November 2011 by Robyn Campbell

Fab foodie find: Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel

Has any one ever commented to you that so-and-so has “Been living under a mushroom”; meaning the person is ignorant or out of touch with current news and affairs?

Well, if said person had been residing in the Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel, I wouldn’t blame them for never wanting to emerge into the real world again. What a find this little hotel is for food lovers looking for somewhere truly unusual to spend their holiday.

The Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel is located in Stellenbosch. It’s a 5-star stay and a convenient base from which to discover the gourmet bounty of the Cape winelands. Top wine estates nearby include the Van Ryn Brandy Cellar, Spier, Asara, Neethlingshof, Overgaauw and Jordan. Within a 10-minute drive of the hotel are some of South Africa’s most awarded fine dining restaurants including Overture, Rust-en-Vrede, Terroir, and the Wijnhuis.

Once you’ve booked into the Wild Mushroom, though, you may be tempted to turn fungi and stay put because the hotel is the first in the world (so they claim) to offer mycotourism, or mushroom tourism - gourmet mushroom-inspired experiences that are guaranteed to make guests go gaga about mushrooms.

Your host is the affable and extremely knowledgeable Dr. W Adriaan Smit, the hotel manager and a passionate exotic mushroom grower.

Some of the mushroom-inspired activities on offer are guided tours of the onsite mushroom cultivation cellar, and a 2-hour mushroom Master Class at the South African Gourmet Mushroom Academy where you’ll learn to identify more than 60 commercially cultivated mushroom species for their culinary, medicinal, and pharmaceutical properties.

The hotel also offers myco-gastronomy activities, aimed at chefs and food lovers who want to learn make the most of the culinary versatility of fungi. It goes without saying that you’ll cook and eat all sorts of delicious mushrooms. Ideally, book your stay in autumn (late April to late May), so you can visit the nearby Jonkerhoek Mountains, with Adriaan to identify and pick edible wild mushrooms.

If your fondness for fungi has mushroomed out of all proportion, sign up for a class to learn how to cultivate your own oyster, shitake, or brown gourmet mushrooms.

As I said before, when you stay at the Wild Mushroom, and learn all there is to know about this fascinating foodstuff, you may find there’s not mush-room on your itinerary for anything else…

Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel
Tel: +27 (0)21 881 3586
Fax: +27 (0)21 881 3593
Mobile: +27 (0)82 749 8553 / +27 (0)82 901 5877 / +27 (0)82 887 7636
39 Digteby Estate, Vlottenburg Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Email: info@wildmushroom.co.za

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