Annual Mushroom, Wine and Beer Festival

Head to Mendocino November 7-16 for this fun festival.

By Mimi Towle

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.

FUNGI FORAGING

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.

KEY EVENTS:

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: … (Nov. 14), Little River Inn’s  Annual Mushroom and Belgian Beer Dinner with Russian River Brewing Company (Nov. 14

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.)  Blackout periods and restrictions apply. For a complete listing of local deals, visit: visitmendocino.com/mushroom-wine-and-beer-festival.

The complete article is available at:  http://www.marinmagazine.com/Blogs/Travel-Buzz/October-2014/Annual-Mushroom-Wine-and-Beer-Festival/