The rains finally arrive in dusty Wine Country and a certain quirky contingent gets on their boots. Rather than bemoaning the drizzle or using it as an excuse to hibernate, these adventurers happily brave the chilly rains to follow the mycelium trail to search for the gourmet mushrooms that abound in the region.
A recent opening of a nature preserve for a mushroom hike brought a sell-out crowd, and they returned with enormous fragrant bouquets of Golden Chanterelles ($18.00 a lb at the store!). Hikes on the coast turn up gigantic Porcinis, the majestic Boletus Edulis. Chefs, local families and European emigrants exchange hellos in the undergrowth, warily bragging about their finds without revealing exact locales. Craterellus Fallax, better appreciated as Black Trumpets which they resemble, herald a feast on the way. Black Elven Saddles abound in the grass with early rains. And Clitocybe Nuda is not an exotic film actress, but a tasty mushroom with a lovely lavender underbelly known as the Blewit. Which is exactly what you did if you walked on by a growth of these tasty morsels!