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One of several species called "chanterelle" (Cantharellus cibarius)

Chanterelle is the common name of several species of fungi in the genera Cantharellus, Craterellus, Gomphus, and Polyozellus. They are among the most popular of wild edible mushrooms. They are orange, yellow or white, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, most species have rounded, forked gills that run almost all the way down the stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. Many species emit a fruity aroma, reminiscent of apricots, and often have a mildly peppery taste (hence its German name, Pfifferling). The name chanterelle originates from the Greek kantharos meaning "tankard" or "cup",[1][2] a reference to their general shape.

Description[edit source | edit]

At one time, all yellow or golden chanterelles in western North America had been classified as Cantharellus cibarius. Using DNA analysis, they have since been shown to be a group of related species. In 1997, the Pacific golden chanterelle (C. formosus) and C. cibarius var. roseocanus were identified,[3] followed by C. cascadensis in 2003[4] and C. californicus in 2008.[5] C. cibarius var. roseocanus occurs in the Pacific Northwest in Sitka spruce forests,[3] as well as Eastern Canada in association with Pinus banksiana.[6]

Cantharellus pallens

The false chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) has a similar appearance and can be confused with the chanterelle. Distinguishing factors are color (the true chanterelle is uniform egg-yellow, while the false chanterelle is more orange in hue and graded, with darker center) and attachment of gills to the stem[clarification needed] (the true chanterelle's gills are typically more wrinkled or rounded, and randomly forked). Though once thought to be hazardous, it is now known that the false chanterelle is edible but not especially tasty, and ingesting it may result in mild gastrointestinal distress.[7][8] The poisonous species in the genus Omphalotus (the jack-o'-lantern mushrooms) have been misidentified as chanterelles, but can usually be distinguished by their well-developed, unforked gills.[lower-alpha 1] Species of Omphalotus are not closely related to chanterelles. Other species in the closely related genera Cantharellus and Craterellus may appear similar to the golden chanterelle.[8]

Cantharellus pallens has sometimes been defined as a species in its own right,[10] but it is normally considered to be just a variety (C. cibarius var. pallens).[11] Unlike "true" C. cibarius it yellows and then reddens when touched and has a weaker smell. Eyssartier and Roux classify it as a separate species but say that 90% of the chanterelles sold in French markets are this, not C. cibarius.[10]

Similarly Cantharellus alborufescens, which is very pale, reddens easily, and is found in mediterranean areas, is sometimes distinguished as a separate variety or a separate species.[10][11]

Species[edit source | edit]

An incomplete listing of species that have been called chanterelles includes:

Distribution[edit source | edit]

A basket of freshly cut chanterelles

Chanterelles are common in Eurasia,[13] North and Central America and Africa.[14] They tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. In central Europe, the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms.[7] In the UK, they may be found from July through December.[15][16]

Template:Nutritional value

Nutrition[edit source | edit]

Raw chanterelle mushrooms are 90% water, 7% carbohydrates, including 4% dietary fiber, 1.5% protein, and have negligible fat. A 100 gram reference amount of raw chanterelles supplies 38 calories of food energy and the B vitamins, niacin and pantothenic acid, in rich content (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV), 27% DV of iron, with moderate contents (10-1 of riboflavin, manganese, and potassium (table).

When exposed to sunlight, raw chanterelles produce a rich amount of vitamin D2 (35% DV) – also known as ergocalciferol.[17]

Culinary use[edit source | edit]

Chanterelles to cook

Though records of chanterelles being eaten date back to the 16th century, they first gained widespread recognition as a culinary delicacy with the spreading influence of French cuisine in the 18th century, when they began appearing in palace kitchens. For many years, they remained notable for being served at the tables of nobility. Nowadays, the usage of chanterelles in the kitchen is common throughout Europe and North America. In 1836, the Swedish mycologist Elias Fries considered the chanterelle "as one of the most important and best edible mushrooms."[7]

Chanterelles as a group are generally described as being rich in flavor, with a distinctive taste and aroma difficult to characterize. Some species have a fruity odor, others a more woody, earthy fragrance, and still others can even be considered spicy. The golden chanterelle is perhaps the most sought-after and flavorful chanterelle, and many chefs consider it on the same short list of gourmet fungi as truffles and morels. It therefore tends to command a high price in both restaurants and specialty stores.[8]

There are many ways to cook chanterelles. Most of the flavorful compounds in chanterelles are fat-soluble, making them good mushrooms to sauté in butter, oil or cream. They also contain smaller amounts of water- and alcohol-soluble flavorings, which lend the mushrooms well to recipes involving wine or other cooking alcohols. Many popular methods of cooking chanterelles include them in sautés, soufflés, cream sauces, and soups. They are not typically eaten raw, as their rich and complex flavor is best released when cooked.[7]

Chanterelles are also well-suited for drying, and tend to maintain their aroma and consistency quite well.[7] Some chefs profess that reconstituted chanterelles are actually superior in flavor to fresh ones, though they lose in texture whatever they gain in flavor by becoming more chewy after being preserved by drying.[8] Dried chanterelles can also be crushed into flour and used in seasoning in soups or sauces. Chanterelles are also suitable for freezing, though older frozen chanterelles can often develop a slightly bitter taste after thawing.[7]

References[edit source | edit]


  1. In the case of Omphalotus olivascens, the gills may be blade-like.[9]


  1. Pilz D, Norvell L, Danell E, Molina R (March 2003). Ecology and management of commercially harvested chanterelle mushrooms. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-576 (PDF). Portland, OR: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
  2. chanterelle at dictionary.com
  3. 3.0 3.1 Redhead SA, Norvell LL, Danell E (1997). "Cantharellus formosus and the Pacific Golden Chanterelle harvest in Western North America". Mycotaxon. 65: 285–322.
  4. Dunham SM; O'Dell TE; Molina R. (2003). "Analysis of nrDNA sequences and microsatellite allele frequencies reveals a cryptic chanterelle species Cantharellus cascadensis sp. nov. from the American Pacific Northwest". Mycological Research. 107 (10): 1163–77. doi:10.1017/s0953756203008475. PMID 14635765.
  5. Arora D, Dunham SM (2008). "A new, commercially valuable chanterelle species, Cantharellus californicus sp. nov., associated with live oak in California, USA" (PDF). Economic Botany. 62 (3): 376–91. doi:10.1007/s12231-008-9042-7.
  6. Rochon, Caroline; Paré, David; Pélardy, Nellia; Khasa, Damase P.; Fortin, J. André (2011). "Ecology and productivity of Cantharellus cibarius var. roseocanus in two eastern Canadian jack pine stands". Botany. 89 (10): 663–675. doi:10.1139/b11-058.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Persson O. (1997). The Chanterelle Book. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 978-0-89815-947-9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Fischer DH, Bessette A (1992). Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America: a Field-to-Kitchen Guide. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-72080-0.
  9. Meuninck, Jim (2017). Foraging Mushrooms Oregon: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Mushrooms. Falcon Guides. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-4930-2669-2.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Gillaume Eyssartier; Pierre Roux (2013). Le Guide des Champignons France et Europe (in French). Paris, France: Belin. pp. 586–590. ISBN 978-2-7011-8289-6. Also available in English.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The entry for C. cibarius in Species Fungorum indicates that C. pallens and C. alborufescens are synonyms of C. cibarius, but have also been defined as varieties or separate species.
  12. Thorn, R. Greg; Kim, Jee In; Lebeuf, Renée; Voitk, Andrus (2017). "The golden chanterelles of Newfoundland and Labrador: a new species, a new record for North America, and a lost species rediscovered". Botany. 95 (6): 547–560. doi:10.1139/cjb-2016-0213.
  13. Dar GH, Bhagat RC, Khan MA (2002). Biodiversity of the Kashmir Himalaya. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. ISBN 978-81-261-1117-6.
  14. Boa ER (2004). Wild Edible Fungi: A Global Overview Of Their Use And Importance To People (Non-Wood Forest Products). Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN. ISBN 978-92-5-105157-3.
  15. "Cantharellus cibarius (Golden Chanterelle): Plant Phenology in the United Kingdom". iNaturalist.org. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  16. "Cantharellus cibarius Fr". gbif.org. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  17. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2974?qlookup=chanterelle Archived 2015-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 28/2/2013

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