“Fungus Faceoff” at the 2nd Annual Big Sur Foragers Festival in Big Sur, CA

On Saturday, January 18, 2014, our day began with a leisurely drive from the Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was a gorgeous day with comfortable temperature and the sun shining brightly. The drive was along PCH with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean with rolling rocky cliffs and sea arches carved by years of crashing waves. Another interesting sight was seeing cattle along the hillsides. The only other place I have seen this mix is the Big Island of Hawaii. The cattle had a great vantage point while they munched away or relaxed in the sun.

The small town of Big Sur is encompassed by carved rock and deep green forests of redwood trees. The Ventana Inn is perched above the forest with vistas overlooking the ocean and hosted the “Fungus Faceoff” on the patio of The Restaurant at Ventana. The setup was done perfectly with a nice flow through the line and food & wine interspersed throughout. There was an array of mushrooms on display, probably picked during the “Foraging Hike in the Forest” earlier that day. The friendly competition featured chanterelles and other fabulous fungi dishes prepared by Big Sur Roadhouse, Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Esalen, Big Sur Bakery, Fernwood Resort, Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley Ranch, The Restaurant at Ventana, and Ripplewood Resort. Let’s take a look at what they made:

Ripplewood Resort presented Russian Boar and Truffled Wild Mushroom Rillettes served with red onion quince marmalade, horseradish crème fraîche, and apple on rye toast. Beautifully presented, it had just the right balance of flavors and textures – rich pork rillette, sweetness from the onion marmalade, stunning yet creamy crème fraîche, crisp yet tart apple, and nutty flavor from the rye bread. It was a great bite but the mushroom flavor was lost. While this was my second favorite dish of the event, it went on to win the “Most Complex Flavors Dish” award.

To read more and see slideshow, please visit: http://www.examiner.com/article/fungus-faceoff-at-the-2nd-annual-big-sur-foragers-festival-big-sur-ca


OC Food Diva