Valeria Moscow is 35 years old and has a passion: protecting nature and gathering everything that grows in the wild to show us that it is possible to eat well with what our forests, meadows and mountains give us.
A concentration of flavors
It’s not an easy job. You have to have a good knowledge of wild herbs to avoid collecting ingredients that are in any way poisonous. However, overcoming this challenge, nature repays us with a wealth of different tastes, which if not experienced firsthand are difficult to imagine. Wild foods, in fact, are able to absorb the earth’s energy, resulting in a concentration of real flavors and a unique intensity.
The many possibilities of wild food
Valeria decided not to keep this passion just to herself, but to turn it into something concrete which could trigger a range of initiatives that investigate the infinite possibilities of wild food. In 2012 Wood*ing
was born a nonprofit "laboratory" – sponsored by Expo Milano 2015 and the European Commission – which aims to protect and preserve the biodiversity of nature.
Study and knowledge
The first step is research: observing, cataloging, gathering wild foods, studying the organoleptic and beneficial properties of each herb, plant, fruit, seed, leaf or root. Then one needs to think about how each food can be stored and processed so it can be transformed into an ingredient of a dish.
A tasty menu
Gathering the foods while respecting the seasons, Valeria and her team create a tasty menu based on experimenting with new cooking and conservation techniques. So, not only a new concept for the kitchen but a new way to stay in contact with the land. Through simple, fresh and honest ingredients we rediscover the ancient flavors which were common to our ancestors, but today, accustomed as we are to processed foods, we have forgotten.
Lichen bread and spruce beer
To give you some examples, you could begin your meal with a forest broth based on lichen, iceland moss and juniper, continue with a risotto made from larch, then some artic char roe accompanied by wild artic char with leaves, and finish with something sweet, perhaps enjoying an ice cream made from wood sorrel, or biscuits made from bitter conifer bark flour, salt and wild fennel. In your bread basket you could find lichens cooked in the ground and in your glass, birch sap flavored with elderberry, fermented bark syrup and spruce beer.
Depending on the season, you can gather mountain pine and beech buds, pine resin, willow and ash bark, the leaves of arbutus and spruce trees as well as wild garlic. Among the most special is birch, oak and ash flour and mountain lettuce.
Ethical food and respect for biodiversity
Wood*ing is proof that ethical food and respect for the land and biodiversity can lead to enterprising initiatives that boost the economy without surrendering to mass production. It starts from something small and humble, it’s true, but, after all, doesn’t everything start from a single bud?