A Mushroom That Tastes Like Maple Syrup… and Some Fine Wine

mushroomsMy late Mom’s side of the family came from Vermont, so even though I grew up in Southern California, we always had an ample supply of real Vermont maple syrup in the house. Anytime a relative from the Green Mountain State came to visit, they knew that the unspoken “cost of lodging” at the Johnson house was a metal tin of syrup.

So when I read that there is a type of mushroom that apparently tastes like maple syrup and can be used to make delicious ice cream, I had to learn more. It’s called the candy cap mushroom, and it grows only along the northern coast of California.

Learning led to yearning, and now I really, really want to try this mushroom and see if the maple claims hold syrup… uh, I mean, water.

Well, it turns out that the candy cap is one of the mushroom types that will be available for tasting at the Mendocino County Mushroom, Wine & Beer Festival, to be held November 4-13 at various venues around the county. To view a complete schedule of events, click here: http://www.visitmendocino.com/mendocino-county-events/category/event-types/food/mushroom-festival/

There are a number of events that include wine as a component, beginning on the very first day of the festival with tastings and pairings at various venues along Highways 101 and 128. Some of the participating wineries open their doors only a few days each year, so this is a rare opportunity to sample their wares and, more than likely, meet the winemakers.

The festival’s signature event this year is the Mushroom, Wine & Beer Camp on Nov. 5, an adults-only day of delicious food, exclusive beer and wine, and camp fun — all while helping to raise important funds for the Mendocino County Museum.

As the event’s website describes it, guests will “stroll through beautiful old-growth trees and golden meadows as you are greeted by the winemakers and brewers of Mendocino County, who offer tastings to complement mushroom dishes prepared by local chefs as part of the Annual Mushroom Cook-Off Contest. Later in the day, enjoy a BBQ of organic meats while taking part in activities such as mushroom foraging, hiking, home brew making, arts, crafts and more!”

Sound like fun? The cost is $90, which, compared to the fees for similar events held in big cities, is a bargain.

Heck, I’d be willing to pony up that amount just to try a mushroom that tastes like maple syrup.

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Posted in Editor's Journal, Wine Buzz
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