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Prized by the world’s top chefs… served in the most elegant restaurants… and you will pay a pretty penny for them at farmers’ markets. I am talking about Chanterelle mushrooms.
While chanterelles aren’t the most prized members of the Pacific Northwest’s extensive mycological mix, the golden hue, goblet shape and delicate woodsy flavor make them irresistible.
The enchanting chanterelle mushroom is almost impossible to cultivate and are not yet commercially grown (although researchers are trying). They grow in a symbiotic relationship with living trees and can be found near Douglas Firs, Vine Maple, under ferns, huckleberries, salal and Oregon grape. Just thinking about all of the conditions that have to come together to produce these mushrooms – climate, soil, the mix of trees and vegetation – is astounding. To me, it’s magical.
Chanterelles are also the perfect quarry for beginning mushroom hunters, like us – easy to find, easy to identify and located right in our own backyard!
Step off the beaten path in the fall forest of the Pacific Northwest and within moments, the forest embraces you: a sea of fern, crimson vine maple and Oregon grape. The light filters through an emerald canopy of fir. The air is hushed and fragrant. Somewhere in the rolling, lush landscape, the quarry awaits. A little gleam of gold marks the treasure – a plump, meaty, delectable fungal fruit… a Golden Chanterelle Mushroom.
This is our first year of mushroom hunting and it seems to get in your blood; once you do it a few times you are addicted. It is the enjoyment of traipsing through the woods and the excitement of finding the mushrooms. Oh, and eating them of course!