Abalone Camp at Little River Inn

Go diving, then learn the art of preparing the flavorful snail.

WHERE OUR FOOD BEGINS, and how it is procured, is a mystery to many, though recent years has seen an uptick in educational courses, and informative getaways, built around just this important theme. One of the rarer experiences in our state involves a rarer delicacy, one that may only be pursued at particular times of the year: the abalone. The meaty marine snail and its iridescent, shell-splendid home is nearly mythic in some circles, and diving for one seems like something that might exist solely in a food maven's fantasy. But a Mendocino-close Abalone Camp pairs people with diving professionals on a quest that goes beneath the waves, and then back up, to the place where the abalones will be cleaned and prepared ahead of a "gourmet feast." That feast will take place at the Little River Inn, in Mendocino County, which is offering its second annual Abalone Camp at the end of June. The 2016 dates are...

JUNE 26 THROUGH JUNE 28 -- that's a Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, note -- and Triton X, the spearfishing and freediving outfit, will lead the underwater, abalone-seeking adventure. You'll be suited up and kitted out for your dive, and the inn's chef, Marc Dym, is at the helm of the straight-from-the-Pacific supper. Two nights at the inn -- June 26 and 27 -- are part of the camp's package price, as are the two days of diving (yep, two), Sunday brunch, a Monday morning breakfast, the "gear and equipment needed for the dive," and other goodies, from eats to instruction (the abalone feast is included). Of important note: An abalone dive license is essential, and should be purchased ahead of arriving. Price for the camp? It starts at $618 a person. Getting all the details before you slide on the mask and dip into the Big Drink? You'll find all your abalone information at The Little River Inn.

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