In honor of the season, we've planned a chanterelle feast tonight at the home of our good friends Annie and Harley Campbell. Annie, an artist, and Harley, a songwriter, have invited several other avid foragers—among them Victoria Romanoff, who recently sold her Ithaca restaurant, Trattoria Tre Stelle, which specialized in wild mushrooms. Susan and I prepare roasted cod with sauteed chanterelles, and Romanoff has brought chanterelle butter, as well as a basketful of Craterellus cornucopioides, a thin-fleshed, gray-black member of the chanterelloid (or chanterelle-like) fungi, known as the horn of plenty—and sometimes more ominously as the trumpet of death. When Romanoff sautes these mushrooms, they release a dark fluid reminiscent of squid ink, with a trufflelike aroma.
As we sit in Annie's dining room, surrounded by dozens of burning candles, the table groaning under the weight of our wild harvest, we worship, devotees all, at the altar of the chanterelle.