In the context of Just Food, Slow Food, and Sustainable Food it doesn't take too long to figure out why wild mushrooms rule. You don't have to be a "freegan" or dumpster diver to appreciate the majesty of what's already growing and awaiting your harvest in the San Juan Mountains. Wild Mushrooms absolutely take the cake for being free, delicious, nutritious, medicinal, and wildly expensive in the store. These nuggets of deliciousness represent flavors and textures that are sought after by world renowned chefs and can be described as the most expensive food in the world (truffle mushrooms). Did we find truffle mushrooms in the San Juans? No of course not! But we found plenty of other delicacies.
Chris Ricci of Majesty Mushrooms led Manna's Culinary Art Students through the San Juan Mountains to find, experience, and taste our local wild mushrooms. As blossoming farm to table or forage to table chefs, the students delighted in the accessibility and the flavors of the afternoon. Students and teachers alike found chanterelles, blue chanterelles, hedgehogs, hawk's wings, and shrimp russalas. These represent the wide array of what can be found on a short trip.
Chris Ricci, state recognized wild mushroom expert, allowed students to explore and return with mushrooms for identification. Chris spoke about the importance of focusing on identification as a beginner rather than jumping into hunting for edible mushrooms. Students found that the chanterelles were easily identifiable by their bright yellow color and by the fact that they lack any dangerous look-a-likes in our region (this is not true elsewhere in the country).
Chris, armed with butter, garlic, and ciabatta set up a camp stove and did a quick cooking demonstration. This amazing and experiential foray introduced students to foraged and wild foods. One student said,"This is the first time I've ever eaten anything from the forest" as she bit into a sautéed chanterelle bruschetta. Chris will also be leading a foray through on September 13 with the DNF Coop Classes. More information can be found on http://www.majestymushrooms.com.