see also Trip Advisor
and praise for Alan Muskat
Thank you for a brilliant foraging experience. It’s amazing how much food surrounds us.
Ashley Christensen, 2014 James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast
This tour has given me much more appreciation for what’s around me. Learning and understanding what is literally under my feet has been a truly eye-opening experience. It has opened up a whole new world for me and will change the way I relate to the ingredients I use in my kitchen each day.
Thomas Maathuis, chef to the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand
It’s like an art appreciation course for the world you live in.
Stephanie Brown, Director, Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau
I never even noticed mushrooms before; now they’re everywhere.
I was amazed at the abundance of interesting stuff we saw and we loved the stories you told about the forest.
Robert Stehling, 2008 James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast
Freshly snuck up on mushrooms taste so much better than the non-snuck-up-on kind.
The Travelocity Roaming Gnome
I had a great time.
Ginger Cecil, Owner, The Biltmore Estate
This was one of the best days of my life.
Nancy Swift, artist
My eyes have been opened to wonders that were always there but we never saw before. It was like I was eight years old again and exploring the woods for the first time.
This is the best kind of hunting: They don’t run away. You don’t have to shoot them. You just have to pick them up.
Paul Patranella, former Executive Chef, The White House
Where else on the planet can you walk in the woods, be entertained, and find a five-star meal coming out of the earth?
Amazing and inspiring… From the poetry to the picnic, it was wonderful.
Dodie Stephens, Senior Communications Manager, Asheville
I praise the mushroom hunting for keeping my kids off their iPads and game boys for a whole day!!
Jackie Siegel, The Queen of Versailles
I could have easily made a one-hour documentary about our forage. There was so much excitement, learning, experimenting… I wish I was a better wordsmith to share with you how truly amazing this adventure is… this tour — no, this life experience — is worth every penny times ten!
Nikki Wynn, Travel Blogger
I am finally fulfilling one of my dreams – to know about what I love to eat. God is good. Life is an adventure.
Any experience that leaves you thinking about one aspect or another days later is worth the effort. I’m still pondering plant communication and cheese as dairy crack.
Jen Perkins, Owner, Looking Glass Creamery
Rosiland Whiteley, RN
…a most exhilarating day in the woods… a truly unique, captivating, and dramatic style. I hope that our future expeditions into all forms of paradise have only just begun.
I didn’t know I liked mushrooms as much as I do now.
Mushrooms are bad ass – officially.
This is about the coolest thing I’ve ever done.
I was absolutely captivated; really blown away. You made it fun and got our mouths watering. It made me want to go out and find mushrooms I’ve never tried before.
PBS’s Slangman, David Burke
No Taste Like Home is not just a brilliant idea at its core, but it is executed by a collection of knowledgeable, creative and well trained guides. There’s a great deal of concern around enhancing the experience of every individual participant and there seems to be a constant state of refinement and growth within the organization.
Over the last three months of my participation, my knowledge and confidence of wild edibles has swiftly grown. As a result, it has not just changed my dinner plate but indeed my family’s life. Yes, my pantry is slowly filling with preserved wild harvests, and certain plants are being used for medicine daily, but perhaps more significantly, my sense of relationship to nature is stirring up a revolution within.
I’m excited for the upcoming year and feel a sense of belonging to the organization. Their generosity and commitment to their purpose as opposed to the dollar makes me want to give back, and I suppose it might be this feeling that leads to the renewing and creative energy I find within the organization.
Most interesting. I learned many things.
Norma Forbes, age 97
Now that we don’t have to buy groceries, we have more money for candy.
S.C., age 4
This is the coolest tour Asheville has to offer that’s authentically of this region.
Jamie Bratcher, Sales Manager, Hotel Indigo
I could do this forever.
If I’ve learned one thing from video games, it is that eating things you find gives you all kinds of sweet power-ups. Thank you for showing me the mushroom that makes me twice as big, the fruit that lets me smash stone blocks, and the flower that enables me to spit hot fire.
What began as an artistic solution to take complete merit of herbal tools is now additionally a winning pastime for many who are prepared to get their arms grimy.
uplifted my spirit… on a scale of one to five, 5+++!
When I started learning about wild mushrooms, I just wanted to eat them. Then I realized that looking for them is half the fun. It’s also great exercise! I was 209 pounds when I began learning about mushrooms. Now I am at 175. Foraging might just save my life.
Besides, this year I harvested, sliced and dried many reishi mushrooms that I have been able to give to several people with cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Now the excitement of finding a giant cache of chicken of the woods or the first morel of the spring makes it worth climbing that mountain, almost every day.
Susan Seithel, MSW
We can’t thank you enough. What a glorious day. We will never forget it. It was the perfect remembrance for our 40th anniversary. Our dinner was unbelieveably great. Chef Josh at Zambra took the mushrooms and created three tapas masterpieces! Oh so yummy. I really think the two of you should submit your story to the Food Network for a show, no kidding! Hopefully our paths will cross again someday.
Bonnie and Stann Givens
What wonderful memories. I loved driving around the magnificent mountains in your convertible, coming home and cooking up that huge cluster of honey mushrooms with comfrey fritters and beauty berries, then chaga mushroom tea and kousa dogwood berries for dessert. Wow and YUM! Hooray for a great day.
Our day with you was a highlight of our two-week honeymoon.
Harvey and Lena Levy
The abundance of chicken of the woods you generously brought for people to take home was the star of dinner.
We really enjoyed our forage and look forward to the next one. Zambra did a wonderful job with our finds. We had nettles sauteed with mushrooms and onions in a wrap that was superb. Then we had spiderwort in a boullion with daylilly blossoms and then we had the nettles with elderberry and crispy birch leaf topping that was really good. Last night I made shitake in a birch reduction that was great. So many good ideas, so little time. Thank you.
Steve and Terry Royster
We took some mushrooms and a bit of sassafrass to The Market Place restaurant, and our oldest son got to bring them directly to the chef. He was gracious enough to let us take a photo with him, and then didn’t just prep the mushrooms as we had assumed (I was picturing sautéed mushrooms), but made mac and cheese with mushrooms for all three of our kids, as well as a mushroom bruschetta of sorts for us.
They brought out more mushrooms for us to see that had been foraged, and we met the owner who was on the front patio cutting herbs. He chatted with us for a while as well. We did order other appetizers and food and dessert as well, and all of it was incredible. We live in the land of meat and potatoes, so I am thrilled when I get to eat anything different from our norm. It was a fantastic experience, and we were so happy with the entire day. Our kids learned a ton and enjoyed everything. We homeschool, so this was their school for the day.
I will send you the photos we took soon, and I just wanted to say an extra thanks for everything. If we are back in the area at some point, we would like to do another foraging afternoon to look at plants, roots and berries more as well. It is important and fantastic work your company is doing.
My dad said our walk was one of the most enjoyable vacation activities he’s ever done and he is not easy to please. Dinner was also fabulous. We loved Zambra all around, and the mushrooms were great.
Our hunt took place at Laughing Frog Estate. The property is so breathtakingly beautiful that I knew on the drive in it was going to be a magical day. On the hunt for morels we all reverted to our five year old selves on an Easter egg hunt. You should have seen us scatter and the excitement we felt when one was found. We covered a long list of wild edibles like violet leaves, sweet cicely, ramps, autumn olive, chickweed, sedum, burdock root, reishi, solomon’s seal, day lily, nettles and a few more that I’m going blank on at the moment, but we ended up collecting so much food that Alan was kind enough to cook it all up for us and even share his homemade wild blueberry wine.
Alan is a wealth of information and such a fascinating person. I couldn’t get enough and I didn’t want the day to end. If you are an Asheville local or close enough to drive in for a class, it’s well worth it!
Your website is like a big tree with a lot of branches, and I’ve been swinging from one to another for the past few days. It’s really fun!
On our forage-to-table banquets:
Yesterday’s extravaganza was an experience to remember. Tasting the fine wine pairings gloriously greased the glibness. I think Alan and Chef Josh have what it takes to write an informed, creative, gloriously photographed book about living off the land in healthy high style, come what may. I would buy several copies.
I can’t thank you enough for such a delightfully informative and exciting evening. I’m still reliving the amazing food combinations and mapping out my spring planting to include some of the “weeds” we tasted.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but holy moly: que delicioso! Every bite was a pleasure. Some of the best food I have ever had. The flavors were so unique and wonderfully surprising.
Exceptional! Absolutely super job by every member of the staff. I’m very glad to have experienced this. Nearly every ingredient was new to me. The goal of introducing people to wild foods was met completely.
Beautiful scenery, palatial home. I felt a little like royalty. Very well put together. Delicious food. Gorgeous sunset: incredible location. The service was sweet and attentive, the chefs were skilled, dedicated, and creative, and the music and the wine were cherries on the top! The musicians were excellent and made the event more special. The food was intriguing and delicious. It was a good balance of comfortable/accessible food like the venison meatloaf and mashed potatoes and oddities like ants!