Mark your calendar! Next Foragers Festival is January 21st – 24th, 2021

This year's Fungus Face Off was held at Big Sur River Inn Saturday, January 18 2020

The historic Big Sur River Inn serves as the host and backdrop of one of the Big Sur Foragers Festival’s most popular events, the “Fungus Face-Off,” set for Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020.

The Face-Off at the River Inn, set under the oaks overlooking the Big Sur River, features celebrated local chefs competing for the best foraged dish, and will include food tastings, fine wines, craft beers, raffles, a silent auction and more.

This event sells out early, and tickets will be on sale through EventBrite starting July 2019.

The River Inn has a significant presence in Big Sur history and lore. The inn’s history goes back to 1888, when Jay Pheneger acquired a 160-acre parcel from the federal government and gave his name to the creek that bounds the River Inn on the south.

Homesteaders Barbara and Michael Pfeiffer bought the property, and in 1926, Michael, and Barbra’s son John took over the land on which the Big Sur River Inn now stands. The inn was opened in 1934 by his daughter Ellen Brown. She opened her living and dining rooms to the public and began serving hot apple pie, which is still served today and gave the place its first name, Apple Pie Inn. Lodging units were built and Big Sur’s first resort was established.

In 1943, Ellen’s sister, Esther Pfeiffer Ewoldson and her husband, Hans, took over the operation. Esther replaced her mother as Big Sur Postmaster and the Post Office was moved to the River Inn, situated where the front office of the motel is now.

With a lot of help, Hans built the General Store and lodging units 10 through 15. He rebuilt the dining room and “fixed it up fancy.”

The Pfeiffer and the Ewoldson families started a tradition at the Big Sur River Inn of fine food, excellent service, and warm hospitality. In 1988, the Perlmutter family, along with a small group of close friends, formed a partnership to carry on that tradition.

For the second year, the Big Sur River Inn extends its tradition of hospitality to host the Big Sur Foragers Festival. 

The Foragers Festival has traditionally served as a fundraiser for the Big Sur Health Center. The community’s non-profit health center will receive the proceeds from the foraging events to continue to support the presence of local health care services in the Big Sur area.

The four-day festival affords Big Sur area restaurants the opportunity to host the culinary expertise of notable chefs, who will be preparing unique fare ranging from rustic to elegant, paired alongside the central coast region’s amazing selection of wine and beer.

In addition to the Fungus Face-Off, events will include:

  • Friday night winemaker’s dinners as locations around Monterey County include Il Grillo in Carmel-by-the-Sea
  • Saturday Foraging walk led by local experts. “Wild Mushroom Walks and Talk”
  • Sunday we are finalizing several brunch fundraisers around Monterey County.
  • Save the Date…
    Lugano Swiss Bistro! Join us at Lugano Swiss Bistro on Thursday, January 16th. The restaurant will be donating 25% of all sales on Fondue as well as all items off the menu including beer and wine on Thursday, January 16th to the Big Sur Foragers Festival benefiting the Big Sur Health Center. Lugano’s will also have live music that evening. Dine, Laugh, Dance, Enjoy and Support the Big Sur Health Center!
  • Friday, January 17th dinner will be held at Deetjens Big Sur Inn 100% donation to the Big Sur Health Center Reservations should be done directly through Deetjens. Calling 831-667-2377 between 9:30 & 4:00pm
  • We are very excited to announce that Il Grillo Carmel will be holding a dinner on Friday, January 17th to benefit the Big Sur Health Center and in honor of Foragers Festival. Join us at Il Grillo on Friday, January 17th 6:30 p.m. as Chef Brandon Miller creates a 6 Course Mushroom & Truffle Feast paired with local wines! Seating is extremely limited for this special event…1 seating only for 24 people. Cost is $180 per person and all proceeds benefit the Big Sur Health Center.
  • Stay tuned for more details coming soon.

NEW!! Big Sur Wild Foragers Feast 🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄 🍄

Mushroom lovers rejoice! Two noted mushroom hunters and celebrated chefs Todd Spanier and Chad Hyatt will prepare the menu for the Big Sur Wild Foragers Feast, set for January 2020, in Big Sur.

This exclusive dinner will be held from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, at Big Sur Roadhouse, located at Glen Oaks Big Sur, 47080 Highway 1, in Big Sur.

The dinner features a six-course Wild Foragers Feast menu foraged and prepared by Spanier and Hyatt, with wine pairing by Beauregard Vineyards. Hyatt is both a highly knowledgeable mushroom hunter and a classically trained chef, based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and author of the wild mushroom cookbook, “The Mushroom Hunter’s Kitchen.” Spanier is known by many as the “King of Mushrooms,” and is considered to be a pioneer of the “sustainable” and “wild food” movements in California. Spanier also founded Chef’s Lounge, which helped create a community of local chefs, vintners, brewers, farmers, foragers and food lovers, and California Truffle Orchards LLC, California’s first truffle cultivation management company.

Tickets for this special dinner are available on Eventbrite, $300 per person (includes gratuity). Seating is limited, so don’t miss out!

Tickets on Eventbrite


Join us Saturday, January 18th  for a Foraging Walk and Talk

  • Big Sur Foragers Festival Foraging Hikes, led by Big Sur Guides, with well-known guest mycologists & chefs Todd Spanier and Chad Hyatt.
  • Beginner’s hike, with Todd Spanier will be approximately 2 miles of flat trail.
  • Intermediate hike, with Chad Hyatt, will be approximately 4 miles with (possibly) a couple of short hills.

Meeting place will be just north of River Inn where both groups will be treated to an amazing display of mushrooms and hear from our expert mycologists.  Exact location of the hikes will be determined in January once we know the weather and the whereabouts of mushrooms and other edible plants.

Space is limited to 30 people per Foraging Walk and Talk.  Hikes depart Saturday, January 18th at 9:00 a.m.  Tickets now on sale for $50 per person.  Purchase tickets through Eventbrite 


Wineries & Brew:
Bernardus Winery, Chappellet, Mesa Del Sol, Wrath, Comanche Cellars, Morgan Winery, Twisted Roots, Wrath, Scheid, Windy Oaks Estate, Morgan, Paul Lato Wines, Flywheel Wines, I. Brand Family Winery, Talbott Vineyards, Martha’s Hopyard, Carmel Craft Brewing Company, Firestone Brewery

Chefs:
Big Sur River Inn, Montrio Bistro, Rio Grill, Jonathan Black of Sierra Mar/Post Ranch Inn, Chris Vacca of Hyatt Carmel Highlands California Market at Pacific’s Edge, Keith Potter of Ventana Big Sur, The Village Big Sur, Coast Big Sur, Big Sur Bakery, Julia’s Vegetarian 

Enjoy Local Foodie Finds From:
Sweets of Eden, The Bitter Ginger, Big Sur Jade, Percy Pies

2021/01/21 12:00:00

Partner with us!

Wineries, Chefs, Restaurants and other Vendors are invited to partner with the Foragers Festival! Please click below and fill our partnership form.