More great news about the fast-approaching Truffle Fest in January 2013: master mycophagist David Campbell will be leading festival attendees on a wild mushroom chase, in search of Napa’s finest fungi.
What’s a mycophagist? Let’s break it down together: myco– (fungus) + phage (eat) + –ist (one who does what was just described). Best. Job. Ever.
David defines mycophagist as “one who safely eats a wide variety of wild mushrooms,” and having spent over 40 years studying, foraging, eating, teaching, and cooking wild fungi, he has definitely earned that title. He and his Marin-based company MycoVentures provide all manner of educational events and experiences involving wild mushrooms, from classes and cooking demos to exotic “mushroom forays” in the US and abroad. (Check his website for details on the mouthwatering trips he’s leading through Piedmont and Tuscany in October 2012 — then book your spot and cue victory dance.)
The Truffle Festival’s mushroom foraging expedition will begin bright and early the morning of January 20th, when the intrepid hunters will be whisked from the Westin Verasa to a secret location where prey is plentiful (we hope), and local wines delectable (assured). Helping David lead the charge will be Stephanie Jarvis of Napa Valley Fungi, another mushroom geek of the highest order whose company recycles the wine industry’s waste products into mushroom fodder. The masters of the hunt think we will most likely encounter wild candy caps, hedgehogs, chanterelles, or porcini mushrooms — but no one can say with certainty what other treasures might be unearthed.
After the hunt, foragers can retreat to historic Beringer Vineyards for a mushroom cooking demonstration, followed by a sumptuous lunch.
Just another day in the life up here in Napa.
Tickets for the foraging and the post-foraging feast are sold separately, though only a limited number will be available à la carte. Keep a close watch on the Festival website in the coming weeks to secure those spots, or simplify matters by buying an all-access pass to ensure your participation in all the festivities.