Exploring, eating and writing about good food on Canada's west coast

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The annual fall Chanterelle craving begins...

My love affair with Chanterelle mushrooms began five years ago, just after I moved to Vancouver Island. I was shopping at the Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market when I happened across a huge bag of them brought to town by a local picker. The price was a jaw-dropping $10 for the entire bag, I would have been paying $40 to $50 for the same amount in other parts of Canada, the joy of having access something grown nearby is never-ending on Vancouver Island, I must say. I spent a week learning how to transform the Chanterelles into the most incredible sauces, showcasing their delicate flavour and incredible aroma. Mmmm, see, my mouth's watering already...

My love for this eclectic fungus reached new heights last year when a friend of mine who has lived on Vancouver Island his whole life offered to take me hiking up a local mountain to go Chanterelle picking. I jumped at the chance, and had a heavenly day tramping through the misty forests of Central Vancouver, eyes scanning everywhere for the tell-tale orange glow of the next patch of mushrooms.

Sadly (though not too sadly), it has been a beautiful, sunny and warm fall on Vancouver Island this year, and mushrooms need the rainy, misty, damp and cool to thrive. So it's not quite time for me to get my hiking shoes on and grab my collecting buckets. And it's driving me crazy. I've heard whispers that they are starting to pop up south of us in the Cowichan area, and had quick glimpses at the odd mushroom or two in local stores. 

So while I'm enjoying yet another bright sunny day, the Chanterelle craving continues... and I secretly pray for just a little Chanterelle rain.


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