Written By: Leanne Cordingley
After some debate over whether what we were finding really were chantarelles, or the similar looking, but rather less tasty and occasionally hallucinogenic false chantarelles we have finally given them a go. We’d gone to visit one of our friend Viv’s old lichen hunting grounds near Glen Coe and were clambering around old mossy woods near a disused crypt when we found a few good patches of them hiding in amongst the fallen autumn leaves. Luckily with our edible mushroom expert to hand we were able to confirm they were the real thing and gathered a few dozen to take home with us.
Chantarelles have to be one of the prettiest mushrooms there are. So brightly coloured, they can be hard to spot as they are alsmost the same colour as the leaves they hide in. They have a very distinctive fruity smell, like apricots. There are a few other distinguishing features, the gills separate into twos or three and occasionally rejoin, I believe doesn’t the false chantarelle gills ever rejoin. They also are a more irregular shape, although until I’ve seen a false one I’m not sure how obvious this would be.
As yet I’m still cooking the wild mushrooms I find simply so I can understand what they taste like before complicating things with sauces, so I just fried these in a bit of butter with salt and pepper and had them on scrabled eggs on toast. I believe they would be excellant for a risotto, or stroganoff, so next time I’ll give that a go. Hopefully we’ll find some more soon, although down on the Wirral we’re still experiencing a mushroom drought. I’m sure they’ll come soon. There’s been weeks of dry weather, but after I mentioned the other day I was hoping for rain to bring mushrooms it came. In fact it’s been pouring down a good few times a day ever since. I’ve heard this is ideal to set them off, so fingers crossed.