As soon as we start getting any rain in West Sonoma, we are anxious to see mushrooms growing.
A fair amount of rain is needed to saturate into the very dry ground after months of summer warmth. This has been a great season so far. A few of the recent years the drought has made a huge impact with little mushrooms to be found or picked.
This Fall started well with the porcini's. This is a meaty mushroom and a favorite to many. I find them not as versatile.
After the Porcini season is up and running, we start looking for black trumpets. I find these easy to locate as they are often on the sides of roads and trails and don't take as much scouring the ground. Plus they often appear in beautiful bouquets and large mass. These are wonderful on pizza with just a little herb's and cheese. The less you add the more of the trumpet flavor there is. One of my favorites!
Harder to find and so delicate, the belly button hedgehog's. Another beautiful mushroom with flavor that should not be masked. Great in risotto. Another favorite of mine!!!
The more famous big brother, the Chanterelles. We have had some incredible harvests of white and less of gold. They can grow big enough to a pound in weight. Years passed that we hardly found any, but this 2016 Winter has been very solid so far.
Once you've recovered from the excitement of finding all these wonderful mushrooms, the hard part comes. Cleaning is a chore. To make it easier, you should remove as much dirt, foliage and leaves as you can while out in the forest. Keep Hedgehogs separate as the teeth are difficult to get dirt out of.
For the black trumpets, we use a salad spinner, soak and spin a few times.
And the best part really is the eating enjoyment but, you need a good chef and worthy recipes.
Risotto's, Lasagna, pizza and potatoes are all perfect vessels to allow the delicate flavors to shine.
Here are a couple
Our Annual mushroom Foray for our wine club is extremely popular, selling out months in advance.
The group has always enjoyed the camaraderie of the hunt as much as the lunch, wine and of course the mushrooms.
Happy hunting, cooking and enjoying.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
December Celebration 2016 - Sunday Dec. 4th
Our 8th Annual Celebration Dinner happens once again with great company, a fabulous pig roast and a lot of magnums of Paul Mathew Wines.
We started this cold evening with 3 magnums, 2 cheeses and hot butternut squash soup.
The magnums were 2007 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, 2002 RRV Pinot and 2006 RRV Pinot.
Guests of the evening were thrilled by the 2007 Chardonnay. A gold rich wine with great creamed corn, buttered nuttiness and wonderful apple flavors. The 2 Pinot's were showing well with many more magnums to come for the evening.
Throughout the year visitors to our tasting room ooh and ahh at our dining room. The tables, the chalk board wall and the art that fills the chalk board by Iva Hladis. We use it often but only our attendees see it in action.
Toma cheese from Pt. Reyes is a favorite. Rich and mild at the same time, perfect to pair with our
wines. We also served ewephoria which is an excellent cheese with Pinot's.
Butternut squash soup with a dribble of truffle olive oil warmed the hands and the tummy.
Greens of arugula with hazelnuts and blue cheese
Root vegetable salad, cauliflower macNcheese and the high light a whole roasted pig.
The best shot of the evening....
The end of 2016 is very bitter sweet. The end of Obama era and to the unknown 2017. We celebrated to life, love and enjoying food and wine. We will always have that.