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Walnut Creek Magazine

Mendocino County Readies for Mushroom Mania

Sep 18, 2017 03:34PM ● By Fran Miller


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 mushroom - all celebrated during the county's Mushroom Mania events, Nov. 3 - 12. 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.  

Visitors can take a walk on the wild side with a litany of mushroom-inspired events including 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 (Nov. 4) celebrating artisan beer and mushroom-inspired cuisine in Ukiah; $30.

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

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. Top excursions include: 

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.  Nov. 4; Hopland; 707.744.1424,; $20.
Mushroom Exploration Tours at Stanford Inn
Join local enthusiast Adrienne Long for a walk and talk among the local forests and meadows. Nov. 3-5; 11-12; Mendocino; 707.937.5615;; $45 adult/$20 children.
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.  Nov. 5. Fort Bragg; 707.964.2020; free.
Mushrooms at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens 
Join staff mycologist Mario Abreu for a series of mushroom workshops and walks at the Botanical Gardens. Nov. 6, every Monday Nov. 20 - Dec.18, 2017; Fort Bragg; 707.964.4352x16;; free with garden admission $15.
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. Nov.11. Fort Bragg; 707.961.9687;; $65.
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. Nov. 12.  Caspar; 707.937.3498;; $22.
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.

During the festival, enjoy an evening with acclaimed guitarist Alex de Grassiat 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.   

A bevy of 25 local hotel deals round out the seasonal celebration including Albion River Inn's savings of 30 percent on an ocean view guestroom, Mendocino's AAA-Four Diamond Brewery Gulch Inn's 15 percent savings on midweek rates with a two night booking, and a complimentary third night free via Glendeven Inn's "Mushroom Special. On the coast, Little River Inn's "Mushroom Mania" ocean-view guestroom package comes in with a cool savings ($165.00/dbl.) or the newly-renovated Sacred Rock Resort in Elk by the sea, which is offering a 15 percent savings on accommodations. Black-out dates and restrictions apply, based on availability. For a complete listing of local deals, visit:

Photos by JPerlman RLutge Photography
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