Fungi Flavor Deepens the Big Sur Foragers Festival

Join a mushroom walk, sit down to a fungi dinner, revel in shroomy suppers.

FOOD WRITING... can be such a gas to read, whether it is an account of a favorite author revisiting a restaurant from her hometown, or an acclaimed chef trying a retro dish at the local diner, or a straight-up review of the hottest reservation in town. Oftentimes, within the essay, you'll find language that levitates the vittles, that lifts what's on the plate to the next level, such as a buoyant soup or a zippy cocktail or a snappy piece of snapper. But when it comes to writing and thinking and looking for and cooking and tasting mushrooms, one rather longs to employ the word "deepen" and "subterranean" and that trusty go-to, "earthy" (which really does work in the case of mushrooms). It isn't that fungi can't be buoyant or zippy, but chanterelles and portobellos and oysters and other representatives of the mushroom delegation come from a more layered and rooted and even secret place, compared to other sorts of cuisine. Coincidentally, Big Sur is quite the rooted and somewhat secret place, too, or at least wonderfully mysterious, and that it is home to the annual Big Sur Foragers Festival every winter makes such snappy sense. And the 2018 mushroom-stravaganza is just ahead, from...

JAN. 12 THROUGH 14, and the Fungus Face Off is back at Ventana Big Sur, for starters. Want to see some area chefs show display their talents in the earthy-flavored realm? This'll be an event you'll want a seat at. Speaking of seats, there are dinners to join on Jan. 12 and 13, with fungi making cameos throughout (just be sure to throw your hat into the raffle ring, as the goodies up for grabs in 2018 are as good as an omelet brimming with morels). And as is tradition, mushroom-themed walks and talks are part of the three-day gathering, too. The festival all lends love to the Big Sur Health Center, so make your way to the enchanted coastal stretch and deepen your affection for all things fungi, all while supporting the wonderful people of Big Sur.

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