Dear Louisville, This will be my first Derby and Derby Fest...and I'm excited about it...but my heart lies with another festival this weekend. I hope we can still be friends. Love and mint juleps, Jessica
Yes. This will be my first Derby. Nick and I moved into town mid summer of last year, and although we've enjoyed a few fun filled races at Churchill Downs, we have yet to experience the magic and mayhem that I hear comes hand in hand with that famous weekend.
Although there are plenty of local derby related events around town that I should be excited about this weekend, for some reason, the only thing I can think of is an event clear across the state of KY. It's the Irvine Mountain Mushroom Festival, and I can almost taste the umami from here. http://www.mountainmushroomfestival.org/
Typically I wouldn't be quite so excited about a fungus festival, but morels.com (yes, there is a morels.com) is featuring the event on it's site and there will be morel mushroom hunting at the festival, so morels should be in abundance.
If you're asking yourself, "what's the big deal about morels", then you probably have never eaten one.
Wild morels are only available fresh once a year. In Kentucky, they happen to show themselves in spring.
Morels are, in my opinion, the king of all mushrooms. The flavor, the texture, the earthy and musty aroma of a morel makes it an amazing natural wonder. They're bursting with umami flavor. They can compliment any spring dish with ease. They are...mouthwatering. They are also...expensive.
Since they're only available fresh once a year I tend to splurge. While I don't recommend heading off to the woods and scavenging for them yourself, I do recommend scavenging the local farmers' markets and produce stands in search of them.
I'll keep y'all posted on my morel sightings and please keep me posted if you find any as well.
P.S. In related news I just got off the phone with Creation Gardens (searching for those yummy shrooms) and was told that their old retail warehouse in the NuLu area is closing down and they're moving to a much larger warehouse that, sadly, won't be open to non-restaurant owning customers.
I was told that they will be implementing an online shopping site for regular joes like you and me who still want amazing produce that you can't find anywhere else, but there will be no strolling the aisles yourself. You will have to place an order online and pick it up.
Good news though...prices will be listed on the site! No more filling your basket with amazing produce, price unseen, and sweating at the register hoping it won't break the bank.