Food Experiences – Truffles & Mushrooms

| January 2, 2013 | 2 Comments

I’m so excited about all the info that I’m discovering about food and farm related experiences, so I’ll be running a series over the coming weeks. Today I’ll be sharing about Truffles and Mushrooms for those who enjoy these odd little fungi.

Did you know that there’s an organization devoted to promoting, pursuing and advancing the science of Mycology (the study of fungi). It’s the North American Mycological Association (NAMA). If you’re interested in finding out more about mushrooms, truffles and the like check out their website. At the least you can find out how to identify a good mushroom from a poisonous one and educators can rent an age-appropriate Mushroom Teaching Kit for their classrooms. You may even find a club or foraging event near you.

Here are some upcoming events where you can learn more about these edible treats, cook, taste, and even learn how to forage for them.

Napa Truffle Festival – January 18-21, 2013 – Napa, CA

Truffles“Truffles have managed to come out of the ground and into the American culinary mainstream without losing their mystique or their earthy appeal—further proof that they are a unique, irreplaceable culinary treasure.”

January 18 -21, 2013 brings the 3rd annual Napa Truffle Festival in Napa, California of course. You can learn about cooking with truffles, truffle and wine pairings, and the science of cultivating the treats. David Campbell will also lead an early morning wild mushroom forage. “With a little luck, perhaps we’ll find Porcini, Hedgehogs, Chanterelles, or Candy Caps…” he says.

The festival closes with a marketplace showcasing local wines, artisanal foods, cooking demos, special truffle dishes and accoutrements, and a chance to win a black diamond (truffle, that is)!

Check out all the details in the program here. Prices range from $25 – $1,250 depending on events selected.

SOMA Wild Mushroom Camp – January 19 – 21 – Sonoma County, CA

Unfortunately the 2013 camp is already sold out, but feel free to bookmark their site and add a note to your calendar to check on it later this year if you’d like to attend in 2014. There are also other excellent resources on their site besides the camp.

Oregon Truffle Festival – January 25-27, 2013 – Eugene, OR

truffle-dogThis seems to be quite a popular festival, since some of the events are already sold out, but they still have a few spots in both the a la carte Truffle Dog Training and Truffle Growers’ Forum, as well as the Sunday afternoon cooking class.

This festival offers a Truffle Dog Training Seminar, the first event of its kind in North America. It has taken a long time to introduce truffle dogs to this continent, but now in its third year, OTF’s Truffle Dog Training Seminar is a unique opportunity to both observe the handling and training of skilled truffle dogs, and to teach your own dog to detect the scent of truffles.

This singular event begins on Friday January 25th in the classroom, with lectures on canine scent detection and the fundamentals of scent training, as well as practical sessions with your dog at the Festival Headquarters Hotel. On the second day, participants and their dogs have a one of a kind opportunity to engage in an authentic hunt for wild truffles in their natural habitat; unearthing truffles from their source that no one has hidden for you. And yes, you absolutely do get to keep the truffles you find.

This seminar is intended for those with an interest in commercial harvest of truffles, either from natural woodlands or orchards of trees inoculated with the European truffles, as well as those whose interests are primarily recreational. The program also includes multi-course luncheons including truffles in every course on both days.

Oregon Truffle Marketplace – Sunday, January 27 – The Hilton Eugene, OR

No advance sale – Tickets at the Door only. $15 at the door includes truffle cooking demos and tastings, artisan foods tasting, fresh truffles, a truffle dog demonstration, and Marketplace lecture series. $20 includes all of the above AND wine tasting featuring eight of Oregon’s outstanding wineries.

 Wild Mushroom Weekend – February 23 – 24 – Healdsburg, CA

Sonoma County is one of the best edible wild mushroom regions in the entire world. Join chef and forager Elissa Rubin-Mahon as she leads a foray in the hills above Healdsburg. Participants will learn the fundamentals of edible wild mushroom foraging, including what trees and terrain to look for, the most easily-recognizable edible mushrooms of the region, handling, safety and more.

After working up an appetite from the tromp in the beautiful woods, you’ll caravan back to the Relish Culinary Center for a Wild Mushroom Lunch or Brunch. You’ll cook up any edibles you find as you enjoy delicious mushroom dishes.

Truffles and Mushroom Events Around the World

Truffles in FranceThese are just a few of the mushroom and truffle events going on in the near future. You’ll see that these happen to be in the western U.S.  Wikipedia lists several more, but you’ll need to do some “digging” to find the details. And if you’d like to travel to a more exotic destination, consider one of the Truffle Festivals in Italy in Autumn. Another option is Avignon, France in February for their Truffle, Wine and Olive Oil Festival. But be sure to check out each link to confirm dates for this year.

Do you like mushrooms or truffles? Have you ever picked them in the wild? I’d love to hear about it.

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Category: 1 - 9 Days, Agriculture, California, Culinary Arts, Fall, France, Gardening, Italy, Learning Travel, North America, United States, Washington, Winter

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