Adventures in Foraging: Chanterelles and Wild Strawberries

Yesterday was a good day. No, scratch that. Yesterday was a great day. I had enough time in the afternoon to wander about the island enjoying the beautiful weather and the best nature has to offer.

Early in the afternoon, my client came down to the kitchen to tell me how much they enjoyed the filet with chanterelle velouté and ask me if I knew of any more chanterelles we could have for dinner that night. I told her I would be happy to go find some and headed out to check the usual spots. I don’t like to take everything out of one spot so I went down to a spot near the beach where I had seen some last year.

I only found a couple mushrooms but was pleasantly surprised by how many wild strawberries were growing and how perfectly ripe most of them were! I wasted no time collecting the nicest ones and set off down the beach looking for more chanterelles.

I didn’t find much more than tranquility and spectacular views walking down the beach. That was more than enough for me, but I had promised my client mushrooms for dinner so I doubled back through the woods hoping to get lucky.

As I wandered through the woods with my eyes on the forest floor, I saw many mushrooms. I marveled at the diversity of nature and the beauty of its many creatures. I walked for over an hour revelling at my surroundings but did not find a single chanterelle.

As I headed nearer to the kitchen, I thought I might at least see if I could find some more strawberries. Maybe this just wasn’t my day for mushroom hunting. I headed back down toward the beach where I had seen the strawberries, thinking about how I might use them later. I found a few more ripe ones I had missed earlier and turned to head back and build the fire. Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Directly in front of me was a big patch of apricot colored beauties. More than enough for dinner, and just in time! I quickly gathered the nicest ones and placed them in my basket before hurrying back to start the fire for dinner.

When the fire was ready, I grilled the steaks and the mushrooms together and then made a quick salad with blue cheese dressing, wild strawberries and chives. A red wine reduction mounted with a little cream and butter made a perfect sauce for the steak. My clients were thrilled with dinner but not as thrilled as I was with my afternoon adventure.