Northern California Preps For Its Weekend Of Wild Mushrooms

By Marcy Gordon
Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent

Photos Courtesy of Marcy Gordon and Relish Culinary Adventures

Photos Courtesy of Marcy Gordon and Relish Culinary Adventures

In ancient Egypt, only pharaohs were allowed to eat mushrooms, which were not only delicious, but also prized for their many health benefits and healing properties. Now you no longer need to walk like an Egyptian to partake of the gastronomic pleasures of the mighty mushroom — merely head for Sonoma.

Sonoma County is one of the best mushroom foraging regions in the world, and the second annual Healdsburg Wild Mushroom Weekend, February 23 and 24, coincides with the peak of the wild mushroom season in Northern California. Wild Mushroom Weekend is full of opportunities to savor the earthy delicacy with dinners, mushroom hunts, tastings, cooking classes and wild mushroom and wine pairings at local wineries around the culinary hot spot of Healdsburg.

Join Relish Culinary Adventures for an active day with Elissa Rubin-Mahon, founding culinary chairperson of the Sonoma County Mycological Association, on a foraging outing to gather some of the best edible mushrooms in the area — porcini, chanterelle, black trumpet, yellow foot, hedgehog, matsutake, candy cap, hericium and many more. Participants will learn the fundamentals of edible wild mushroom hunting, identification techniques, handling and safety. After the hunt, a cooking class will be held to prepare any esculent specimens along with a multi-course menu featuring Corn Flour Blinis with Sautéed Wild Mushrooms du Jour, and Braised Pork with Herbs and Garlic Wild Rice with Black Trumpet Mushrooms.

Dry Creek Kitchen and Madrona Manor will offer extensive tasting menus and Barndiva will serve a mushroom ice cream and feature Rabbit Fricassee with roasted wild Chanterelles. Wineries presenting Wine & Mushroom pairings during Wild Mushroom Weekend include: Passalacqua Winery, Francis Coppola Winery, Williamson Wines, Hop Kiln Winery and Thumbprint Cellars.