Shiitake mushroom and brandy gravy
Seven Mountains Wine Cellars in Spring Mills has a unique event on tap, with its first Mushroom & Wine Fest to be held Sept. 8.
The free event features food pairings, tastings, a guided foraging walk and a seminar led by central Pennsylvania mushroom expert and author Bill Russell.
“Guests will learn about the edible and non-edible mushrooms that grow in the central Pennsylvania woods and how to match wines to various mushroom varieties,” Russell said.
Tracy Rigg, one of the co-owners of the winery, said she hopes it’s a successful event for Russell and visitors.
“They’ll be able to ask questions, search for mushrooms in the nearby forests, cook and taste mushrooms and learn about pairing mushroom dishes with our wines. There will also be a mushroom soup cook-off that guests can enter,” she said.
There is room for 80 guests to sign up and attend.
“I think going out into the forest and actually learning where to look and what to look for will be a big draw for people,” Rigg said of the guided foraging walk. Guests will venture into the woods near the winery in search of local, seasonal mushrooms. The brief hunt is intended to be rewarding even for those who have maybe never foraged for wild mushrooms, as experts will be paired with novices over the hour-and-a-half-long activity. After participants return to the wine cellars with their finds, the mushrooms will be identified, cooked and sampled.
Rigg suggests participants wear pants and closed-toe shoes, and bring bug spray. Guests will be driving from the free parking at the wine cellars to the foraging location, she said.
For those more interested in the cooking and eating than the foraging, the mushroom soup cook-off could be the perfect opportunity to show off your culinary chops. To participate, attendees must bring their soup, prepared with store-bought mushrooms only and in a slow cooker, to the designated event area by noon the day of the festival (prior notice of an entry is appreciated). Contestants must provide their own ladle, plastic spoons and small cups for serving guests. Attendees will vote on the soups later in the day and the winner will be announced at the end of the festival.
Attendees also have the chance to win a door prize, a copy of Russell’s “Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic.”
Directly following Russell’s seminar, Seven Mountains winemaker Scott Bubb will join him to discuss mushroom and wine pairings, with complimentary mushroom appetizers.
“The event will be a great opportunity for the novice ‘shroomer to learn how to identity wild mushrooms and to learn how to prepare them, as well as learn which wines would pair with them,” Bubb said. “Anybody that has ever had an interest in learning about foraging for wild mushrooms doesn’t want to miss this.”
The Seven Mountains Wine Cellars Mushroom & Wine Fest takes place from noon-5 p.m. RSVP by Sunday by emailing Riggs at email@example.com. Admission is free; food, wine and other drinks will be available for purchase. Attendees are encouraged to bring along their own wild mushrooms for identification and discussion.