Edible Monterey Bay

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Fall Brings Mushrooms to Bernardus Lodge

Bernardus_Lodge_CarmelNothing conjures up the image of magic like the thought, or the scent, of mushrooms. November generally brings a smattering of rain, and with it, the promise of Chanterelles and Candy Caps. Chef Cal Stamenov of Bernardus Lodge and Marinus restaurant eagerly anticipates this fungi-filled time of year, when the local forests begin to sprout their earthy treasures. Prized by ancient and modern cultures alike for their medicinal properties, mushrooms are not just delicious and nutritious, but their restorative powers go well beyond superstitious.

An experienced forager himself, Chef Cal enjoys rooting out local fungi to craft autumnal additions to his world-renowned repertoire of coastal cuisine and libations that have made Marinus an international destination. Throughout November and December Bernardus Lodge offers special hiking, dining and even spa packages focused on wild mushrooms.  Why don’t you pull up a toadstool and stay a spell?

First, meet the mushrooms in their native habitat, as you go foraging in the wilds of the coastal forests of Monterey, accompanied by a seasoned guide, looking for Chanterelles and Candy Caps, the coastal specialties. The moderate three-hour guided trek is $75.00/person and is offered on Wednesdays and Saturdays, weather permitting. It will make you feel like Alice in Wonderland, only more informed.

Follow your invigorating foraging trek with a relaxing soak in the Warming Pool at The Spa, followed by the Mushroom Medley, a series of treatments including an exfoliating body scrub, followed with a hot rock massage combining a custom Bernardus blend of oak, moss and mushroom-infused oil. Then, slide into the alfresco whirlpool with a 25-minute mushroom soak to get you primed for a magical evening.

Begin with enchanted cocktails at Marinus Restaurant or Wickets—how about a Chanterelle and Elderflower martini? Then, indulge in delectable dishes like a rich White Truffle Risotto, Local Black Cod with Chanterelles, or perhaps Carmel Bay Spot Prawns with Matsutake Agnolotti in wild fennel sauce. Finish off the evening by exploring the sweeter side of ‘shrooms.


Pastry chef Ben Spungin plumps up the dessert menu with a sinful Black Truffle Ice Cream Sundae, Caramelized White Chocolate and Chanterelle Mousse and fragrant, maple-infused Candy Cap Pot de Crème with Pistachio Streusel.

Afterwards, you can shut the door on the White Rabbit while you check into your cozy Bernardus Lodge accommodations for a night of dreamy sleep, sated by the powers of porcini.

Seasonal dinners

Truffle_Martini_BernardusChef Cal and his team invite you to be their guests at the “Edibles From The Wild” feast on Saturday, November 17th. You’ll enjoy a five-course tasting menu completely focused on fungi and other tasty ingredients foraged from local waters and forests. Paired with a selection of wines from Bernardus Winery, the menu will showcase both savory and sweet dishes, and will be developed based on what nature’s bounty has to offer. The dinner will take place in the exhibition kitchen adjacent to the Harvest Room.

Then, on December 7th, to celebrate the long anticipated arrival of truffle season, Chef Cal and guest chef, Josiah Citrin of Melisse in Santa Monica, host an evening of culinary decadence blending local farmed and foraged ingredients with the exquisite, rare truffles from Italy and France. The 16th Annual Truffle Dinner will begin with a cocktail reception featuring a prestigious cuvee champagne and Sobieksi-Black Truffle Martinis, followed by a six-course tasting menu paired with wines from Marinus’ Restaurant award-wining, 35,000 bottle cellar. This is, without doubt, a once in a lifetime culinary experience. Don’t miss it: seating is very limited, and the bragging rights, priceless.

Funguy & Girl Package

mushroomsThe new “Funguy & Girl” two-night package includes guest accommodations, a three-hour foraging trek for two, mushroom spa package for two and $150.00 meal credit at Marinus Restaurant or Wickets Bistro.  Rates start at $1050.00/double.  Packages are available November 1 through December 30, 2012, subject to availability and exclusive of taxes, gratuity and resort fees.  Blackout dates apply.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012 Edibles From The Wild Dinner, 6:30pm reception; dinner at 7:00pm, $150 person, inclusive of tax and gratuity

Saturday, December 7, 2012 16th Annual Truffle Dinner. Price: $500.00/per person + tax and gratuity. A special room rate of $275 is available for the evening. Please call 888-648-9463 to reserve. 

About the author

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Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.