Friday, February 19, 2010

The Golden Chanterelle

The country's only Chanterelle Festival! A week from today it begins: those who love the moist, golden fruit of the forest will gather at the Big Sur Lodge, to prepare their wild mushroom mixtures for the rest of us fungi-loving folk.

From soup, to beer to ice cream, (and everything in between) you can savor tasty dishes with delicious matching wines, from six different local vineyards, on both Friday night and and Saturday afternoon and evening. There's a contest among local chefs to see who can create the most magical mushroom meal.

Personally, I like them deep fried (comfort food, of sorts) and have fond memories of a feast of chanterelles prepared this way, along with mussels from the cove and lots of yummy red wine. Finding the little beasties is great fun, too. We scuffle around the oak leaves, baskets in hand, gently slicing the saffron colored marvels off the forest floor. Even I can impress my gourmand spouse by cooking them in butter, and plopping them onto rice, or eggs.

If you're in the area, don't miss it! You can buy very reasonably priced tickets for different 'shroom events: a FUNgus hunt, the Cook-Off!, the Awards Dinner, Sunday Brunch and more. Plus your contribution to the Big Sur community will help fund an ongoing project to create sustainable, organic gardens throughout the area.

Mushroom found and photographed by Toby Rowland-Jones

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