High Tide Creative

Wild Chanterelle hunting on Vancouver Island

I spent a great Sunday afternoon hiking through the wet green forests of Central Vancouver Island in search of Wild Chanterelle mushrooms. The fall rainy season has begun on the Island, which means mushroom season has also begun. As you can see from the photos below, there’s lots to see on the forest floor right now, and even a few good things to eat if you know what to look for and how to find it.

I was lucky enough to be travelling with an experience local mushroom hunter who has spent his whole life in this area and knows it well. Please note: do not attempt to locate and eat VI mushrooms on your own as we have many poisonous varieties on Vancouver Island which can easily be mis-identified. Island visitors should also always keep to marked paths and trails in our forests, as it is easy for amateur explorers to get lost in the back country.

After a great afternoon of hiking, bucket in hand, I managed to find a nice selection of Golden Chanterelles and even a few of the rarer White Chanterelles, which have a more delicate texture and flavour than the spicy & firm Golden variety. Picking my own mushrooms in their natural habitat was a great experience, and I’ve never enjoyed a meal more than one filled with wild mushrooms picked just hours before with my own hands.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at hunting for the elusive, sought-after West Coast Chanterelle, touch base with a Vancouver Island outdoor or nature tour company. Many companies around the Island give seasonal mushroom picking/hiking tours during the fall, winter and spring and can teach you how to identify and properly pick these delicate mushrooms to protect their root system for re-growth in future years.

If you manage to get your hands on Chanterelles in season (keep your eye out at BC farmer’s markets this month for fresh selections from pickers), here’s a great source for how to clean & cook the mushrooms, as well as recipes to get you started on integrating them into your cooking.

A cooking tip from the High Tide Travel Blog: Chanterelles pair amazingly with British Columbia wines, I especially recommend splashing some BC Pinot Gris white wine into a Chanterelle cream sauce served over pasta.

Trust me, then thank me, this is local eating at its best.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2011 at 2:07 pm and is filed under BC Wines, British Columbia, Food, Foodie Websites, Travel, Vancouver Island, Wine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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