Tempted to forage for coveted candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and morel mushrooms, but afraid you might pick something poisonous instead? Head up to Mendocino this November for the Annual Mushroom, Wine and Beer Fest, November 7-16.
Here’s the info from the organizers:
Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak, pygmy forests and stately redwood groves, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties. The annual haul is nothing short of historic, nurturing nirvana for local mycologists, chefs and fungi foragers. Add to the mix a cache of artisanal chefs, 95+ wineries, a formidable craft beer and hard cider scene and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi sprouts into action November 7-16, 2014 visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival; 866.466.3636.
Visitors can tap into a variety of adventures from mushroom hunts by horseback, foraging excursions, Pinot and porcini menus, educational seminars, art exhibits and the annual Skunk Train trek and cook-off deep in the depths of the Noyo River forest. To cap the event, regional hotel properties and restaurants are offering special menus and packages throughout November.
Pack a pair of boots and a sense of adventure as mushroom foraging season hits full stride this fall. During the festival, guests can track and taste Mr. Fungi in a variety of formats. Top excursions include:
Ride with the Hunt – Mushroom Hunt at Richochet Ridge Ranch
“Mushroom Hunt” horseback rides every day during the festival. Equine, wine & hotel packages also available.
Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Fort Bragg; 707.964.9669; horse-vacation.com.
Hunt for the Wild Mushroom Mountain Bike Ride
Put the fun in “fungi” with daily bike tours through the local forests in search the magical mushroom. All levels, rentals available. Nov 8/9 and 15/16. Mendo Bike Sprite, Fort Bragg; 707.962.4602; mendobikesprite.com.
Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Join staff mycologist Mario Abreu for a series of mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens.
Daily. Fort Bragg; 707.964.4352×16; gardenbythesea.org.
Pygmy Forest Ecological Staircase Hike & Educational Hunt
Daily tours from beach to bluffs traversing 100,000 years in geology on each of the five terraces. Forage for fungi en route. Jug Handle State Reserve, Caspar; 707.937.5804; jughandlecreekfarm.com/staircase-trail
Mushroom Exploration Tours
Join local mycologist Adrienne Long for all things mushroom at the Stanford Inn before heading out to the forests and meadows for a full immersion. Daily. Stanford Inn, Mendocino; 707.937.5615; stanfordinn.com.
MUSHROOM, WINE & BEER TRAIN (November 8, 2014)
For the ultimate outback experience only accessible via train, hop aboard the iconic Skunk Train. Departing from both Fort Bragg and Willits, the adventure includes foraging hikes, wine tasting of the county’s top wines, beers, and ciders – a perfect prelude to the mushroom cook-off. A finale culinary judging and presentation by local mushroom expert Eric Schramm wrap up the day. The events benefits the Mendocino County Museum (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., $105.00/inclusive; 707.964.6371; skunktrain.com.
FUNGI FINALE & MIGHTY MUSHROOM CONTEST (NOVEMBER 15, 2014)
The ultimate walk on the wild side begins with a mushroom hunt on 39 acres of native gardens, forest and meadows with mushroom expert Eric Schramm culminating with canapés and the crown for the largest mushroom at Jug Handle Creek Farm along scenic Highway 1 in Caspar. 2:00 p.m., $18; 707.937.3498; jughandlecreekfarm.com.
POWER TO THE PORCINI
From the bounty of Boonville to the lure of Little River, restaurants and wineries throughout the region salute the season with a myriad of special repasts. Key events include The Incredible Edible Mushroom/Winemaker Dinner at the Buckhorn Boonville with Maple Creek Winery (Nov. 7), MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant and Graziano Wild Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 7), Celebrate Wine & Wild Mushroom Days at McNab Ridge Tasting Room (Nov. 8), Wild Mushroom and Wine at BARRA of Mendocino (Nov. 8), RIVINO Winemaker Dinner (Nov 12), Cucina Verona Winemaker Dinner with Navarro Winery (Nov. 13), From Vineyard and Forest to Table Dinner with Foursight Winery and Ravens' Restaurant (Nov. 13), Stone & Embers Restaurant and Baxter Winery repast (Nov. 14), Little River Inn’s Annual Mushroom and Belgian Beer Dinner with Russian River Brewing Company (Nov. 14), Mushrooms & Moulin Rouge at BARRA of Mendocino (Nov. 15), Heritage House & Goldeneye Winery Tasting Dinner (Nov. 15), Bridget Dolan’s Restaurant and Husch Vineyards event (Nov. 15) and Maple Creek Winery and Artevino Mushroom Hike & Forage (Nov. 16). Throughout the county, 32 restaurants are offering special menus during the festival.
In addition, visitors can get their Highway 101 & Highway 128 Wine & Beer Trail Passports stamped at 33 participating wineries and breweries showcasing special mushroom pairings, events and entertainment.
MUSH “ROOM” DEALS
A bounty of local hotel deals round out the seasonal celebration including Little River Inn’s “Mushroom Mania” ocean-view guestroom package ($159.00/dbl.), Headlands Inn Bed and Breakfast “Mushroom, Wine & Chocolate Divine” getaway (two night minimum) or Elk Cove Inn and Spa’s savings of up to 50 percent on accommodations backed with a delectable champagne and mushroom weekend brunch. Mendocino’s AAA-Four Diamond Brewery Gulch Inn celebrates the season with a 15 percent savings (two night minimum) and infusion of locally-sourced mushrooms showcased in the daily made-to-order gourmet breakfast. Other deals include a stay at the new Heritage House Resort in Little River ($175.00/dbl.), MacCallum House or Grey Whale Inn. Blackout periods and restrictions apply. For a complete listing of local deals, visit: visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival.