Druid Food of Vastyr

Author: Castus Marius
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By Castus Marius, Travel Writer

In an effort to escape the holiday-going fare of High Isle, I found myself in the port of Vastyr on Galen, my stomach rumbling.

I wandered the rocky tunnels of the city's Vine District and found several humble stalls of just-picked druid offerings. Though in name this produce is no different from what one might find anywhere else, the simple flavors and simple ingredients speak for themselves. Food among the druids is not so much sold as it is shared, not so much fresh as it is still living and imbued with some sort of flavor-enhancing life and vitality. After so long a holiday on High Isle among companions in high society with very particular tastes, I walked the stony streets of Vastyr and tried an apple plucked from a Stonelore grove. With the first bite, I felt my life energy returning somehow. Invigorated, I sought out more.

One druid, inspired by the Druid King's supposed creation of the chimera, showed to me a vegetable she called a "singing tuber," a violet-streaked hybrid of leek, carrot, and nirnroot. (I am told that nirnroot, though notoriously difficult to cultivate, grows well in the ashen soils of the Systres.) She served me a small salad of the leaves, thinly sliced and tossed with shallots and a moon-sugar vinaigrette. The result was a light, crunchy, bold flavor that left my ears ringing with a chorus of sunset colors. So vivid and intense was the experience that I had to lay on a flat rock by the beach until the sensation passed.

The same druid had told me to come back later and taste the roots, which she had planned to stew over the course of the afternoon and serve with saltrice. But when I had braced myself enough to return to her, it was late evening, and her pot was empty. Another druid took pity on me and served me comberry porridge thickened with milled oats and topped with lumps of fresh-caught crab. I could not have imagined such flavors to be complimentary, and in fact, they were not. But I felt nonetheless nourished and healthful, and hiked the night through with a group headed to Glimmertarn, a druid settlement on the north side of the isle.

Even spring water seems clearer in Galen. Most of the locals gave me odd looks when I expressed this observation, but I feel it must have something to do with the druid magic of the island, or perhaps the volcanic rock that makes up the bones of the Systres.

Overall, Vastyr's rustic setting is paralleled in its food: wholesome, simple ingredients found on any corner are given new life and flavor with the touch of druids. Inquiries as to their processes of cultivation and cross-pollination are met with wry, mysterious smiles, as if such secrets could only be shared among druidkind.

And to that, I say: it's just as well. I'd sooner let Galen keep her secrets and have an excuse to return than have half the world trying to cultivate the natural magic of the flavors found here.

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