Chanterelles, or in German Pfifferlinge, are golden yellow mushrooms that are widespread in Europe and found on the menu late July to end of September
The fine taste of this mushroom and the clear shape speaks for itself. For the light and uncomplicated summer kitchen, the delicious late Summer and Autumn mushrooms are almost irreplaceable
The yellowish-white spotted stem of the chanterelles is 3 to 8 centimeters (1″ to 3″) long and up to one centimeter thick. His hat is very variable in size, but mostly has a diameter of 4 to 8 centimeters (1 1/2″ to 3 1/4″). The funnel-shaped, irregularly wavy shape is rather flat in the middle. The edge of the hat, on the other hand, is rolled up. The mushroom glows in a golden yellow color. The chanterelle also has no real lamellas, but rather ridges on the underside of the hat that fork and run down the stem
The Chanterelle has been a very popular edible mushroom since ancient times and is still in great demand today. The attractive appearance, fine taste and versatility are just a few of its advantages. It is undisputedly a seasonal harvest highlight in Germany, even if it is often rare and a little expensive.
Like most mushrooms, it also has a doppelganger, the false chanterelle, which looks very similar to it. However, the real chanterelle is much more yellowish than its more orange counterpart.
The chanterelle prefers to grow near deciduous trees such as beeches, oaks or pines. This mushroom loves mossy ground and prefers to be covered by a little layer of leaves or needles. The soil on which the chanterelle grows is mostly semi-dry and poor in nutrients. Chanterelles occur both in small groups and in larger quantities in one place.
The golden mushrooms ripen from late Summer to late Autumn. You can harvest the bright yellow chanterelles year after year at the same location, so that once you have found a growing area, you can enjoy mushroom pleasure for many years to come.
If you find them, you should think carefully about whether you want to tell others about your place of discovery.
Always check a mushroom guide before consumption or, best of all, go to a mushroom expert after collecting. The glowing and poisonous “olive tree mushroom” resembles the chanterelle, however, it is not so common in our climatic zone. Sometimes one encounters the “fake chanterelle”, which looks quite similar to the real chanterelle. It is not poisonous, but tastes bland and has white flesh. You can recognize it by the orange color, the real lamellas on the underside of the hat and the symmetrical shape. So, stay away or destroy the fake ones. When picking Chanterelle mushrooms, it is better to remove the entire mushroom from the ground.
Before preparing for the meal, be sure to cut off the stump and areas, also carefully clean the mushrooms with a brush. It is best to prepare and consume chanterelles immediately after harvesting or when buying on the market. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days.
The chanterelle can also be found in North America, Australia, North Asia and South America. Here in Europe the small mushroom can be found more widespread. In Germany the occurrence has already decreased. Unfortunately, the Chanterelle mushroom population has been declining since the 1970s, probably due to increasing air pollution. The endangerment through other factors increased of the golden yellow mushrooms, like forestry and water scarcity.
Today, most of Chanterelles you see on the market come from Eastern Europe, where it is still widespread. In Austria, the mushroom known as “Chanterelles” has even been placed under protection. The harvest quantity there may not exceed 2 kilograms (4 lb) per person per day. What very few people know: here in Germany the amount of wild mushrooms that can be picked is limited to one kilogram per person.
One of my favorite dishes is the Semmelknödel with the creamy Pfifferling Sauce (Bread dumplings with Chanterelle mushroom sauce)
This is how I prepare my Creamy Mushroom Sauce: When in season, Pfifferlinge (Chanterelle) mushrooms are being used, but can be substituted with champignons or others. I found some exotic mushrooms at Lidl US. Saute Parsley, onions and mushrooms for 3 minutes, add 1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth. Add a 1/2 chicken bouillon cube. Mix 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp cornstarch with a little water and thicken the sauce. let boil for 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and 1 cup of whole cream (or 2 tbsp sour cream), season with dash of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heating element and pour in in a spritz of wine and lemon juice to taste.