Like many a great relationship, it began over a drink.
Shelburne Inn owner Laurie Anderson was attending a restaurant trade show in Seattle in 2009 when Charles Finkel of Pike Brewing Company offered her a taste of beer. She accepted.
“I sampled his beer and was awestruck by how good it was,” Anderson said. “I asked him if he ever did beer dinners at restaurants, and he said ‘yes’. Then I asked him if he would be willing to travel 3 ½ hours to the Long Beach Peninsula to do a beer dinner paired with our local wild mushrooms and he said ‘yes’ immediately.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Fast-forward eight years and we’re on the cusp of our 8th annual Wild Mushroom & Pike Beer Dinner at the Shelburne Inn on Oct. 27 from 7-9 p.m. Seating for this chef-inspired, five-course wild mushroom-Pike Brewing feast is limited. Call (360) 642-4150 to reserve your seat today. It’s a seasonal celebration that shouldn’t be missed.
The dinner is part of the Long Beach Peninsula’s 17th annual Wild Mushroom Celebration, a collection of dining, hiking and lodging specials from Oct. 1 – Nov. 15 that honor fabulous local fungi like king bolete, lobster and white matsutake.
Anderson was inspired in 2000 to bring a wild mushroom dining event to the Long Beach Peninsula. She approached other restaurant and lodging owners with the idea and soon the event was growing like, well, a wild mushroom. It’s since been featured in major publications including Travel & Leisure, The Oregonian and Alaska Airlines’ in-flight magazine.
Each season on the Long Beach Peninsula produces its own culinary treasure. Spring is salmon; winter is crab. In autumn, the venerable wild mushroom rises from the coastal forest floor and takes its place among the best fall flavors. Local wild mushrooms hold a special place in the Shelburne’s heart.
David Campiche, Anderson’s husband and co-owner of the Shelburne Inn, has been foraging wild mushrooms on the Long Beach Peninsula for almost five decades. It’s a quiet, intimate pursuit that keeps him in touch with nature.
“He loves being close to the earth, knowing what goes on under the ground,” Anderson said of her husband.
Campiche described the subterranean sequence as “a lace-like magic that produces the mushrooms budding on the surface of the ground”. That magic extends to the Peninsula’s soil and moisture-laden air that forms the perfect incubator for wild mushrooms. And the hunt is as much fun as the find – imagine tramping through quiet lowland forest, where the only sound is the crunch of pine needles underfoot and the occasional call of a passing bird. Mushroom foraging requires patience and, above all, a keen eye.
Interested in finding your own wild fungi? Join one of the Wild Mushroom Celebration hikes in Fort Stevens State Park across the Columbia River in Oregon. These hikes are guided by park rangers who know not only where to look, but what, exactly, to look for. No guesswork here. Participants should wear weather-appropriate clothing, and should bring a basket, pocket knife and mushroom identification book if they have one.
In a nutshell, the Wild Mushroom Celebration is just that: a celebration. And you’re invited to take part. Join our Wild Mushroom & Pike Beer Dinner on Oct. 27 and discover just how marvelous our local mushrooms can be. And be sure to sample some Pike Brewing Company beer – great things may follow.