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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 16:17

Mendo For Mushrooms, Wine & Beer

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An array of Mendocino's finest wild mushrooms An array of Mendocino's finest wild mushrooms Photo: Lutge J. Perlman Photography

TASTE News Service, October 17, 2017 - As the flavors of fall arrive in Northern California's Mendocino County so does the annual crop of coveted candy cap, chanterelle, porcini and hedgehog mushrooms.

Straddling historic Highways 1 and 101 with nearly 2,500 sq. miles of live oak and stately redwood groves, the region is a natural hotspot for some 3,000 mushroom varieties, 500 of which are edible.

The annual haul is nothing short of historic, nurturing nirvana for local chefs, winemakers and fungi foragers.   Add to the mix regional mushroom-laced menus, 20 winemaker and brew events, and a host of art and educational seminars and the annual salute to Mr. Fungi is nothing short of fantastic. www.visitmendocino.com/event/mushroom-wine-beer-festival.

Visitors can take a walk on the wild side with a litany of mushroom-inspired events including hunts by horseback, fungi foraging and key food and wine gatherings including Yorkville Cellar's Annual Malbec and Mushroom Feast (Nov. 4-5). Also on tap is the first Homebrew Festival (November 4, 2017) celebrating artisan beer and mushroom-inspired cuisine in Ukiah; www.mendohomebrewfest.com

To cap the fest, 25 regional hotel properties are offering special packages throughout November.

Fungi Forging

Pack a sense of adventure as mushroom foraging season hits full stride this fall. During the festival, visitors can track and taste Mr. Fungi in a variety of formats. Some of the top excursions include:

mario abreau mcbg mycologist PicmonkeyMendocino mushroom man Mario Abreau

Mushroom Foraging at UC Hopland Research and Extension Center -- New!

Join local naturalists and fungi experts for an educational stroll through the madrone woodland followed by a selection of canapés. November 4; Hopland. www.ucanr.edu

Mushroom Exploration Tours at Stanford Inn

Join local enthusiast Adrienne Long for a walk and talk among the local forests and meadows. November 3-5; 11-12; Mendocino; www.stanfordinn.com.

Foray with Mario Abreu "Mushroom Walk for Beginners"

Scout about with local expert Mario Abreu in this informative walk focused on the Fort Bragg coastal headlands. November 5. Fort Bragg.

Ride with the Hunt - Mushroom Hunt at Ricochet Ridge Ranch

"Mushroom Hunt" horseback rides every day during the festival. Equine, wine & hotel packages are also available. Ricochet Ridge Ranch, Fort Bragg;  www.horse-vacation.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. November 6, every Monday November 20 - December 18, 2017; Fort Bragg; www.gardenbythesea.org

Mushroom Foray and Cooking Class at Jade Court

Strap on those boots and hit the hills for a foray into the forest followed by a cooking class featuring wild mushroom dishes paired with wine, brews and ciders. November 11. Fort Bragg. www.assaggiare.com

Fungi Finale - A Walk on the Wild Side

Tap into a tasty day with local mycologist and mushroom cookbook author Eric Schramm. Enjoy a guided hike and fungi nibbles at Jughandle Creek Farm. November 12 in Caspar www.jughandlecreekfarm.org

Power to the Porcini

The bounty of the county comes full circle in November as restaurants, wineries and breweries salute the season with a myriad of special repasts. Key events include MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant and Graziano Wild Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 3), CORO Winemaker Dinner at the Golden Pig (Nov. 3), Afternoon Tea at Glendeven Inn paired with mushroom tea sandwiches (Nov. 4); Mad Fritz Brewing Company at the Bewildered Pig (Nov. 4), Ravens Restaurant Medicinal Mushroom Breakfast (Nov. 5), Pennyroyal Farm Mushroom Brunch (Nov. 5), Blue Collar Winemaker Dinner with Steele Wines at Cucina Verona (Nov. 7), BARRA of Mendocino Winemaker Dinner at Crush (Nov. 8), Wild Fish Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 8), Little River Inn Annual Mushroom and Belgian Beer Dinner (Nov. 10), Maple Creek Winery/Artevino Mushroom Hike & Forage (Nov. 11), Saracina Mushroom foraging and Gourmet Luncheon (Nov. 11), Jaxon Keys Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 11), Yamakiri Winery and Ravens Restaurant Mushroom and Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 11) and Campovida Winemaker Dinner (Nov. 11).

Throughout the county, 35+ wineries and breweries celebrate the harvest with a bevy of tasting room specials including Caps Off! Wine and Mushroom Pairings at Yorkville's Meyer Family Cellars, weekend tastings slated at Goldeneye Winery, wine and mushroom pairings at Handley Cellars and complimentary fungi bites at Phillips Hill Winery, Seebass Family Wines and Brutocao Cellars, among others.

Performing Arts, Installations & Sidekicks

During the festival, enjoy an evening with acclaimed guitarist Alex de Grassi at UC Hopland Research and Education Center (Nov. 4), discover the aphrodisiac properties of mushrooms at "Bars, Bordellos and Mushrooms," at the Kelley House in Mendocino (Nov. 5) or dig into an afternoon with a Mycelium in Art & Industry talk at the Mendocino Art Center (Nov. 5) or Live Mushroom Exhibit at Ford House Museum in Mendocino through November. In addition, visitors can tap into the Skunk Train for a ride into the ancient redwoods (pups included), visit Point Arena Lighthouse or step into the wilds via daily tours of endangered African hoof stock at B. Bryan Preserve. 

Mendocino County

Mendocino County welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors annually who explore its 90 miles of Pacific coastline, 90+ wineries and 10 diverse AVAs (earning the highest percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards in the United States), 24 state/national parklands and 450+ unique accommodations. Straddling scenic Highways 1 and 101, "The Redwood Corridor," the County delivers an ideal vortex of waves, wines and redwoods laced with historic villages and outback adventures. Located 114 mi./184 km. north of San Francisco, the region's gateway airports are San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International (OAK), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS).

Editor’s note: If you’re planning on visiting Mendocino County first check out the North Coast listings in Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Wineries and Craft Beer purveyors.

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