Finding Funnel Chanterelles from bear forest

I have always been a city girl in my heart. It was not until I was an adult that I was introduced to a real forest, a place far from civilization, not just the little patch of woods in a parkway just down the road. For one year during the early years of our marriage we actually lived in the middle of this wilderness due to my husband’s work. To tell you the truth, I was a bit terrified of going on walks since I knew that bears inhabitated these woods. The town school was just two kilometers from where we lived at the time. I often would walk and pass the school with our oldest daughter who sat in the stroller still at that time. So small was she then. Feels like it was yesterday.

I had heard a story that once when the teacher was letting the kids out for recess, she all of a sudden told everyone to stay inside. There was a mama bear and her two cubs walking across the yard. I believed the story since not too far away, about halfway between our little home and the school, a bear had crossed the road leaving it’s large paw prints in the sand. We happened to drive by shortly after it happened and chatted with a few people that had seen it. But I had decided that I was not to be imprisoned in the apartment, and so nearly each day we would take our walks and I would keep my fingers crossed and occasionally cough to try keep the bears at bay.

In these same woods, we have sometimes gone exploring for mushrooms. Usually it is my husband who goes as he knows all of the good places but sometimes when I have the chance I go along. The funnel chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis) come up after the chanterelle mushroom season and sometimes they may be a bit hidden, but if you find one you will most likely find a whole patch to fill up your basket.

funnel chanterelle

This dish is really so simple but the flavors are fantastic. Our mushroom season is over now but when we still had fresh ones, we dried a part of them and some of them we fried with a bit of butter and then packed using the vacuum packer. They make a wonderful sauce. The savoy cabbage is quick roasted, rounding out the flavor and making a warm salad of sorts as a side.

Funnel chanterelle sauce with leeks

funnel chanterelles
1/2 of a leek, finely sliced
a knob of butter (30 g/10.5 oz)
2 dl/1 c cream
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c milk
or alternatively you may use half and half
black pepper

On a large frying pan, cook the mushrooms, leek and herbs with the butter until the water has evaporated so that it snaps and crackles just a bit. Pour on the cream and milk and allow to gently bubble for a few minutes. Serve over boiled potatoes and roasted Savoy cabbage.

mushroom sauce

Roasted Savoy Cabbage Salad

Savoy cabbage cut into wedges
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
black pepper

Place the wedges of Savoy cabbage on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven at 175C/350 for about ten minutes.

savoy cabbage


    1. The idea for doing the roasted Savoy cabbage came after trying the kale crips. I was interested to see if something similar could be done using a different cabbage. This was the result, its a little different but made a great side.

  1. Do you wear a red riding hood when you are in the woods?! My dear. Oh thank you for the beautiful Father’s day card. Don’t think that I have ever had one with rainbow trout before. Thank you Erik, I will treasure it. Think I can smell those mushrooms as they sauté. Good imagination.

    Love, Grampa

    1. So glad the card made it there, it was made with earnest concentration and a colorful imagination. 🙂 Yes, I did feel a bit like red riding hood during those days back then. I’m happy that we now live closer to the city, yet we are surrounded by the countryside…the best of both worlds.
      Love, Laila

  2. What a delicious post! I have only gone foraging for mushrooms once, with a very knowledgeable and passionate friend, and it was great to be in the woods, looking carefully and respectfully at everything around us. My favorite detail in your story, however, is your practice of coughing every now and then just in case a bear might be nearby to let her/him know of your presence. It reminded me of a great song by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini called “Whistling Away the Dark” that Julie Andrews introduced in a movie called Darling Lili

  3. The dish is fantastic, I love that you foraged for mushrooms and found those beauties. It brings me back to my childhood, my Father and I used to go to the forest and forage for mushrooms. Love this post!

  4. Wow! Aren’t you brave. I don’t know if with her majesty in her stroller I would have gone for a walk.

    I love everything about your dish. The ingredients, they way they are cooked and assembled … simplicity at its best. 🙂

  5. Lovely Laila. It read like a fairy story – the idea of the mama bear and her cubs and the ominous bear prints. And then the mushroom foraging. A proper forest – you conjured it beautifully. Sophie

  6. I’ve never gathered mushrooms–or ever even seen chanterelles–but it sounds like it would be fun to try someday. The recipe looks wonderful.

    1. Thank you Sheryl. Chanterelles are one of the easier mushrooms to work with (and delcious in my opinion) that can be found in the forest, but the above recipe can be made using mushrooms from the grocery store as well.

  7. This is one of my favorite mushrooms but I found so few this year. What a pity, I especially miss them when I read this post! 😉 Contrary to you I more or less grew up in the forests, even if we had a house in the city, since we were every weekend and every holiday in the countryside, and my parents learned me to find edible mushrooms and berries, and we were never agraid, not even alone, because there were no bears a that time. Now they are back, and I don’t relax in the woods like before, even if they are few compared with Finland.

    1. I have noticed that now that I have lived here longer and have spent more time in the forest than ever before, I am learning to be more relaxed…after all the bears do usually try to stay away from people and fortunately the bears hibernate for quite a few months during the year. 🙂

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