Blowing its trumpet
Shooting Times & Country|November 11, 2020
The trumpet chanterelle is one of the tastiest wild mushrooms and one of the easiest for fungi foragers to identify, says John Wright
John Wright
One of the frequent joys of foraging is to suddenly find something wonderful when there has been nothing to see all morning. Occasionally, I find myself in the woods, coming across the odd inedible mushroom here and there but with nothing for my tea. Slightly deflated, I will rest for a moment, look down and see, camouflaged to near invisibility, the dull brown and wrinkly cap of a mushroom at my feet.

I know straight away that it is a trumpet chanterelle as it is almost impossible to confuse it with anything dangerous. However, I always look for the general trumpet shape, the thin edge to the cap, the thick wrinkle of yellowish or greyish gills running part way down the long, yellow, hollow stem. I look around and see a dozen more, then 100, many of them growing in dense tufts. I have filled a basket with these treasures in only half an hour.

One does not expect much in the way of fungi in the depths of winter, but several species thrive at this time of year, sometimes well into January and February. The trumpet chanterelle, Craterellus tubaeformis, is among the best of these. It is also known as the winter chanterelle, reflecting its persistence through the colder months, though I still prefer the former name because tubaeformis means ‘trumpet-shaped’. Also, I pick most of mine during the autumn and it often makes an appearance as early as August. Another name you may encounter is yellow legs.

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