Trompettes de la mort are a highly prized edible wild mushroom that grows in the Loire Valley, under deciduous trees, often hornbeam, in the forests. They are really hard to spot because their dull dark grey brown colour blends in with the leaf litter. Here in the Touraine you go hunting for them around Toussaint (All Saints Day, the first of November), and that gives you a clue as to why they are called 'trumpets of the dead' ie the trumpet shaped fungi emerge from the ground just as everyone is honouring their dead.
|Trompettes de la mort for sale at Loches market for €14 for 500g, wild harvested by a licenced forager in the Sologne.|
Their scientific name is Craterellus cornucopiodes, which tells you that they are related to girolles and chanterelles, and associated with the idea of the 'horn of plenty' or 'cornucopia'. They are not called 'Trumpets of Death' in English, as some people seem to think -- this is a mistranslation of their French name.
The distinctive feature that ensures you have correctly identified them is that they are smooth underneath. They do not have gills, although may have a few wrinkles. They are often used dried, as they dry easily for keeping, and develop quite a truffly aroma and taste.
Quite expensive then... which I suppose reflects the rarity. I like my mushrooms white and button like. you can have those...C
Average price for wild foraged mushrooms.
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