MENDOCINO Co., 1/11/23 — Move over California golden poppy, the state flower, and the California quail, the state bird. Meet our new state symbol: the California golden chanterelle.
The pathway for the golden chanterelle to become the state mushroom started in 2022 when the California Institute for Biodiversity held a poll pitting six mushrooms against each other: the California golden chanterelle, black trumpet, candy cap, king bolete, lion’s mane and western jack-o-lantern. The chanterelle won with 39% of the votes.
As a result, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced a bill to the California State Assembly to name the California golden chanterelle the state mushroom in February 2023. The bill cites various reasons for naming a state mushroom, including that mushrooms are “ancient and long-lived organisms that sustain life on Earth in a variety of ways,” and that “since time immemorial, diverse human cultures have treasured and utilized mushrooms.” The bill recognizes the biological, ecological, cultural and economic benefits of mushrooms and describes the California golden chanterelle as being “long-loved by Californians” and an important symbol of California’s rich and unique biodiversity.
The bill passed the Assembly, followed by the State Senate in September. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law on October 10. On January 1, 2024, the California golden chanterelle officially became the state mushroom.
If you’re lucky enough to forage a California golden chanterelle or pick a few up at a local market or farm stand, you can find some delicious recipes here.
And if you feel like letting someone else do the cooking, Thai Kitchen in Anchor Bay is serving up a special curry using golden chanterelles, in addition to other seasonal mushroom dishes including matsutake coconut soup and black trumpet curry. Thai Kitchen, 35517 CA-1, Gualala, (707) 884-4141, anchorbaythai.com
Good Food Finalists
The Good Food Foundation has announced the 2024 finalists for its annual Good Food Awards. The Good Food Awards celebrate food brands from around the country that not only taste delicious but also meet the environmental and social responsibility standards of the awards.
Each food category, from cider to pickles, has specific review standards that judging panels use to review every product. This may include a product being free of genetically modified organisms, being made with fair labor practices and/or being free of artificial ingredients. The winners that have the best taste and meet the highest standards go on to become darlings of the culinary world and often gain distribution to retailers nationwide.
This week the Good Food Awards announced its finalists for the 2024 awards. Out of the 1,700 entries, two Anderson Valley companies earned spots as finalists. The first is Gowan’s Heirloom Cider in Philo, which was named a finalist in the cider category for its 1876 Heirloom Cider and its Sierra Beauty Cider. Gowan’s has won Good Food Awards for its other ciders in the past. The second is Pennyroyal Farm in Boonville for its Boont Corners Vintage cheese. Pennyroyal also has won Good Food Awards for the same cheese and other cheeses it produces. The winners will be named at an awards ceremony on April 29, 2024. Learn more here.
Dine and donate for the Mendocino Coast Humane Society, Jan. 18
Casa del Sol in Noyo Harbor is hosting a dine-and-donate for the Mendocino Coast Humane Society. A portion of lunch and dinner bills will be donated to the Humane Society. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Casa del Sol, 32351 N. Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, (707) 409-5095.
Tickets on sale for Dining with the Stars fundraiser for the Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center, Jan. 27
Ukiah’s Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center is hosting its tenth annual fundraiser to raise money for its free community programming for children and families, including recreational activities, an adult day program and Special Olympics basketball. Tickets include appetizers, dinner and dessert from Garbocci Gourmet Catering and wines from Frey Organic Wine. Back Porch Trio will perform, and there will also be a live auction hosted by Tom Allman and a silent auction. Tickets on sale here.
Brewery Gulch Inn offering 50% discount for hospitality workers in January
The luxurious Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino is offering a 50% off discount to hospitality and service industry workers for the entire month of January. The discount is also available to active military and first responders. “This discount serves as a special `thank you’ to all of those who may have spent their holidays in service and did not get to enjoy any special down time that they are so deserving of,” according to a press release. In addition to lodging, every guest receives a complimentary locally sourced organic breakfast and wine and appetizers in the evening. To utilize this special discount, input the code “NameTags” in the “Additional information: Special request” box when booking online or mention it by calling (707) 937-4752. This offer is good through January 31, 2024, and there are no blackout dates. Proof of service or relevant employment is required at check-in, such as a work ID, business card or badge. Regular weekend rates at the Brewery Gulch Inn start at $455 a night, meaning the discount rate starts at $227.50 a night. Learn more here.
Tickets on sale for Anderson Valley’s White Wine Weekend, February 17-18
Fans of white, sparkling, and rosé wine won’t want to miss Anderson Valley Wines’ annual White Wine Weekend. Attendees can journey from Yorkville to Navarro savoring handcrafted wine flights, library tastings, and food pairings from over 25 wineries. Tickets start at $95 per person, with designated driver tickets starting at $40 (includes food). Learn more here.
Registration is open for Nelson Family Vineyards 5k Wine Run, March 23
Hopland’s Nelson Family Vineyards is hosting a 5k fun run focused around fitness and wine. The run takes place on the Nelson’s 2,000 acre property, which they have farmed for seventy years. Runners who complete the race receive a shirt, travel wine glass, a medal that doubles as a wine coaster and a pour of wine to celebrate the end of the race. The race is on Mar. 23 and early bird enrollment is $30 through Feb. 9. Learn more here.
January register round-up at Ukiah co-op supports treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health
Shoppers at Ukiah Natural Foods can round up their purchases to support MCAVHN Care and Prevention Network, which has the mission to “Address the co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance use disorders, within an integrated model of care; assist in the reduction of harmful practices and overdose; and stop the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C, and care for those affected.” Mon-Sun, 7 a.m.-8 p.m., 721 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 462-4778, ukiahcoop.com.
Join Mendocino County Foodies on Facebook!
My friend Serena Alexi and I launched Mendocino County Foodies on Facebook to provide a place to share and learn about food and beverage culture in Mendocino County, including home cooking and recipes, wineries and breweries, favorite restaurants and farmers markets, and more. Join the conversation here.
Small but equally important updates
In Boonville…The Disco Ranch is closed from Jan. 2-12. Foresight Wines is closed for repairs and maintenance until Jan. 24.
In Caspar…Good Bones is closed until Feb. 16.
In Fort Bragg…Drop In Donuts is offering a dozen donuts for $24 every Thursday, while supplies last. Mayan Fusion is closed and will reopen on Jan. 10. HarborView Bistro & Bar at the Noyo Harbor Inn is closed and will reopen on Jan. 12.
In Mendocino…Cafe Beaujolais is closed for sit-down service, but it is offering a take-out including smashburgers, salads, bowls and more until Jan. 31. The Brickery is closed and reopens on Feb. 7. The MacCallum House Restaurant & Grey Whale Bar are closed until Feb. 9. The GoodLife Cafe is closed until Feb. 12. The Fog Eater Cafe and Bottle Shop is closed until Feb. 13.
In Ukiah…El Mitote Café is open again at Grow West Ukiah (411 Talmage Rd.). Parducci Wine Cellars has new hours: 12-6 p.m. Tue-Sun.
Note: Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture, weather and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.