Magic Mushrooms

 

The Rocky Mountains are known for many things. Their snowcapped peaks, their challenging 14ers, their quaint little mountain towns, their delectable mushrooms. While the latter may certainly raise a few eyebrows, the unprecedented summer rain has left Coloradoans with a fab new adventure sport – Mushroom Hunting. And what better way to frolic for fungi than in world-class style? Two of Colorado’s most celebrated resorts, Four Seasons Vail and Aspen’s Little Nell, are offering outdoor culinary adventures focused on these superb specimens.

Mushrooms by Mercedes: Four Seasons Vail

Four Seasons Vail - Mercedes and Mushrooms Vail Hotels and Spas Colorado Mushroom HuntingIf you ask us, there’s no better way to hike than by Mercedes. And while we say that with a grin, the ‘Mercedes & Mushrooms’ excursion at Four Seasons Vail has all the adventure and all the appointments a girl could want. Expert mushroom foragers will lead the group in their hunt for the perfect specimens. First, adventure-seekers will be given an overview of what types of mushrooms to look for, what to avoid, and how to properly pick and clean a mushroom. Then, the guests will board the Resort’s fleet of Mercedes SUVs en route to a scenic foraging destination.

After time spent discovering mushrooms ripe for picking, guests will toast a successful hunt with white wine chilled in a nearby creek. Sharing details of their fungus adventure, they will enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch before returning to the Resort. For foodies, the highlight of the experience may be when the group reconvenes in the kitchen of Flame, the Resort’s signature restaurant. Executive Chef Jason Harrison will lead a culinary demonstration incorporating the freshly-picked mushrooms. Finally, the group will enjoy a delicious three-course dinner, with one or more of the courses featuring the mushrooms — perhaps chanterelles or king boletus — they picked on the excursion.

Based on the growing season, Mercedes & Mushrooms excursions will be offered July 16, July 23, July 30 and August 6, 2011. Ring: 970.477.8610, www.fourseasons.com/vail.

Shrooming in Style: The Little Nell

Aspen, Colorado The Little Nell Aspen Resorts Aspen Hotels Colorado Mushroom Hunting
Aspen’s legendary Little Nell is celebrating “Mushroon Season” in style, too. Outings atop Aspen Mountain will include a mushroom hunting expedition complete with baskets, mushroom knives and brushes to find such prize edibles as chanterelle, porcini, lobster, oyster and hedgehog mushrooms. After a welcome toast, participants will board the Silver Queen Gondola to reach the top of Aspen Mountain, where they will then be transferred to Little Nell Land Rovers to access secret mushroom hunting locations. Lunch will be served along the banks of a mountain lake.

An optional dinner, prepared by Executive Chef Robert McCormick with wine at the hotel’s acclaimed Montagna Restaurant, will include the discovered edible mushrooms prepared into delicate dishes.

Limited spots are available on July 17, 24 and August 14, 21 with a 10 a.m. gondola departure. Attendees need not be a guest of the hotel in order to participate. Ring: 970.920.4600, www.thelittlenell.com.