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Fungi Face-Off: Big Sur Foragers Festival

A flavorful Fungi Face-Off is but one appetite-stoking event on the schedule.

Big Sur Foragers Festival

IT IS JUST ABOUT THANKSGIVING WEEK... when loads of lively articles and recipes begin to pop up, many detailing ways to incorporate more vegetables and fruits and such into the typically heavy meal. One earthy, non-meat staple always slides into the spotlight come late November, thanks to chefs and food bloggers recommending its inclusion in various stuffings and dressings and breads. It's the mushroom, and while it can rule any season of the year, its time to shine is truly in the damper fall and winter months, at least up around the Big Sur area and Mendocino County, too. Though "shine" isn't exactly the right word, since foragers typically make their fungi finds in shadowy forest groves (and, true, the fungi is beneath the ground, a place that isn't known for its shine). But take the spotlight the mushroom shall, and how, in the middle of January up around Big Sur and Carmel Valley. The flavorful festivity is the...

BIG SUR FORAGERS FESTIVAL, and it will start 2017 off with some yummy, memorable meals from Jan. 13 through 15 (a Friday through Sunday, yep). A number of eat-oriented, adventure-seeking happenings are on the roster, including the mondo Fungus Face-Off, a competition which'll see top-notch toque-wearers showing off their skills with locally sourced mushrooms. Serene Carmel Valley Ranch is the setting for the face-off, and that is, indeed, a place known for its lovely lavender and honey (in addition to its dedication to dining that honors sustainability). What else is on the calendar? A Grand Chef's Forager Dinner, a Local Artisan Market, and more to-dos built around the deep-of-tone taste-filled fungi will fill out the three-day cuisine-big gathering. Just eye the location of the to-do that interests you, to make sure you're in the right spot at the right time. And, really, if you're still pondering Thanksgiving dishes to make, a few mushrooms in the stuffing do pack some pow. Let that be a starter to your fungi-fun wintertime eating. 

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