Mushroom beer for Fantastic Fungi film screening in Windsor

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Denis Vidmar with hen of the woods mushrooms at the Capitol Theatre Monday. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

Windsor will have its own mushroom beer, mushroom coffee and mushroom museum for the Canadian premiere of Fantastic Fungi Nov. 14.

Just don’t call it a movie about mushrooms to Denis Vidmar who helped organize the screening for the documentary that’s selling out and garnering good reviews across the United States.

“It’s not about mushrooms. It’s about the kingdom of fungi,” said Vidmar a local mushroom enthusiast who used to have a store on Erie Street and now sells truffles and wild, exotic and medicinal mushrooms online. “The kingdom of fungi is a massive, unknown intelligent design. It has so much to do with our day to day lives… I’m talking about air, survival, soil, the regeneration of our soil.”

The documentary with time-lapse photography is directed by Louie Schwartzberg and is billed as taking viewers on an immersive journey into the “magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.”

Vidmar said the underground mycelium network of tiny fungal threads is more important than we recognize to our survival and will make people ponder their own connectivity. “It’s a thought-provoking film.”

I sell magic mushrooms because all mushrooms will get you high on nutrition

Fantastic Fungi will be shown Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre.

Denis Vidmar, of The Mushroom Hub, is shown outside his now closed store in 2016. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

The doors will open at 6 p.m. where people can see different varieties of mushrooms – think of them as the fruit of certain fungi – in a free mushroom museum in the lobby. They will be able to buy mushroom beer, mushroom coffee and mushroom street food along with alcoholic drinks before the film. There’s also an after party at the nearby Craft Heads Brewing Company.

Craft Heads’ mushroom beer has the aroma of a shiitake and the aftertaste of the chaga, a medicinal mushroom, Vidmar said.

“It’s quite delicious,” he said. “It’s definitely a beer I think should be a staple in the city. We’ll see how people react to it.”

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He expects people will leave with a new appreciation for mushrooms that goes beyond the basic varieties sold at grocery stores or the so-called magic mushrooms.

Part of the film does talk about hallucinogenic mushrooms. Although Vidmar’s online site is called The Magical Mushroom Hub, he said he does not support the legalization of magic mushrooms.

“(People) always say ‘do you sell magical mushrooms?’ and I say yes I do. I sell magic mushrooms because all mushrooms will get you high on nutrition. Mushrooms are loaded in nutrition from iron, potassium, protein.”

People think of bananas for potassium but Vidmar said there are mushrooms such as portabello and enoki mushrooms that have more potassium than a banana.

Cooking shows on the Food Network are encouraging people to try more exotic mushrooms but the industry needs to do a better job of promoting the health benefits of mushrooms, Vidmar said. “I call them shroomsters,” he said of his dedicated customers.

Tickets for the film are $23 each and can be purchased through the capitoltheatrewindsor.ca.

Windsor looks to have the first Canadian screening so far and other cities are being added to the list including Vancouver Nov. 16, Victoria Nov. 17, Edmonton Nov. 17 to 20 and Dec. 4, Toronto Dec. 1 and Calgary Dec. 7.

shill@postmedia.com

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