Fungophiles Paradise: Telluride Mushroom Festival
It has been a rainy summer in Telluride, which has produced some epic rainbows and a banner year for mushrooms. Mushroom foragers have been striking it rich, often harvesting 10 plus pounds of chanterelle and bolete mushrooms during one outing.
The mountains around Telluride will be full of very happy fungophiles this weekend as the 35th Annual Mushroom Festival kicks off. The festival celebrates the multitude of uses of fungi (all things mycology). Fungi, the under-appreciated Kingdom of the world, serve(s) many purposes--from breaking down plant cellulose in nature to creating nutrients for plants, to serving as food and medicine for people, to acting as bio-remediators to filter and break down toxic environments from things such as oil spills and agricultural run off.
The festival is action packed. Here are few highlights:
Chefs Cookoff – The cookoff is one of the most exciting events of the festival. Chefs compete for best mushroom dish and festival attendees are able to sample all of the dishes. Past years have included Puffball Pistachio Ice Cream, Porcini Pancakes with Candycap Whipped Cream, and last year’s winner was a Chanterelle Custard Tart. Some of the plated presentations by the chefs resemble little gnome gardens and feature mushroom-themed decorations to garner audience favor and votes. Chefs travel from all over the United States to compete in this highly competitive and delicious event.Parade – Each year festival attendees follow the “Shroompa” himself, Art Goodtimes, on a parade down Colorado Avenue exclaiming “WE LOVE MUSHROOMS”! Festival attendees don’t take the parade lightly, and many spend months planning their elaborate costumes.
Guided Mushroom Forays – Festival attendees have the opportunity to go on a guided foray each day to explore the fungi of the region with leading experts in the mycological community. The guides are what make the festival extra special, as famed mycologist and author Larry Millman explains, “foraging at any location depends on the expertise of the foragers, and the foragers at the Telluride Festival are world-class.” Click here to view a complete schedule and more information about the Telluride Mushroom Festival.