Cantharellus: the elver of the mount or yellow trumpet

We have talked extensively about genres such as boletales, genera that are very easy to collect since the confusion with other poisonous ones is so slight that even the most inexperienced can enter the world of the Fungi kingdom for gastronomic purposes. But today we have a genre that a few weeks ago I filled a basket of about 3 or 4 kilos with which to make delicious scrambled eggs and more dishes. We are talking about the Cantharellus , specifically of two species Cantharellus lutescens and Cantharellus tubaeformis , a small mycological gem that deserves its space on this website.


This genus includes a few dozen known species, although in Spain 3 very specific ones are well known for gastronomic purposes. These are C. lutescens, C. tubaeformis, and C. cibarius. We are going to talk about these three mushrooms in this post.

In general, this genus consists of species with trumpet- or flower- shaped hats that start from a thin, hollow, somewhat fibrous tube (foot).  They do not consist of laminae in the hymenium but are folds of nerves that flow towards the foot. In some cases they are very marked, so much so that they can look like sheets, in other cases, such as Cantharellus lutescens, they are practically invisible. They come in many colors: yellow, brownish, orange, black or grayish.


Without a doubt, it is one of the most appreciated. The so-called angula del monte or gula del monte . Its sister, Cantharellus tubaeformis is very similar although poorer in taste (not much) also edible. Setals can be given very close together and if the differences are not well known, it is very possible to collect both without realizing it.

Its distinguishing aspect is its intense yellow foot and the folds of the hymenium, which are not laminated . This species and its “sister” C. tubaeformis do not have laminae as such, but although they can be confused, the difference between the two is very clear. Here are two images that clarify any doubts.

Here we leave you two photos of the last collection to see differentiating details of the two species:

In this first photo we see C. lutescens and we see how effectively they lack laminae . They are folds or ribs totally decurrent towards the foot. The hat is very dark brown and the stem is a very bright golden yellow . In some young specimens it can even turn orange.

Detail of Cantharellus lutescens

Now let’s look at C. tubaeformis . We can see how those folds are also decurrent, they are much more marked than they could even look like sheets but they are not. The hat is much more brownish and the foot a less bright yellow. The photos are taken with the same light, the same day and the same camera.

Detail of Cantharellus tubaeformis


Also called yellow chanterelle, highly appreciated by many fans of mycology but it is the one that can bring us problems of confusion with some toxic. It is larger than the previous Cantharellus and of an egg yellow color . Although it also appears to have sheets, they are not. They are still folds like the others. Also very marked. If you know how to collect, it has a very good flavor.

Photo the Cantharellus cibarius. Photo de Wikimedia


Confusions may exist. We are never exempt from being wrong, but both in the case of the Cantharellus and the edible boletus, they have such defining characteristics that they are easy to identify and little confusion. In addition, the possible confusions will almost always be with other species or subspecies of the genus that are also edible, such as Cantharellus tubaeformis as we have just mentioned.

The Cantharellus cibarius can be confused with the olive mushroom ( Omphalotus olearius ) which is toxic and quite . In fact, it is listed as one of the 20 most toxic mushrooms in Spain . I don’t particularly look for C. cibarius . I go to the other Cantharellus that I know and know well.


When a person decides to learn to identify, observe, search, collect and cook mushrooms to delight in these wonders of the forest, they encounter 3 very important barriers to entry.

  • The first and most relevant: Ignorance is the worst of enemies . Ignorance of the vast world of edible mushrooms always has an associated risk: mistaking an edible for one that is not. Most of the time, it can trigger bloody diarrhea and digestive pains that are hard to forget. But there are very, very toxic ones that have led more than one to the hole. And not only that, there are mushrooms that accumulate a huge amount of heavy metals, which although they do not intoxicate us a priori, ends up being a silent killer and more in the long term.
  • The second is the time of year and the conditions : Many of the edible mushrooms only show their carpophores at certain times of the year and not always; only and only if a number of climatic conditions have been met. Normally, temperature, humidity and rainfall.
  • The third : Finding them in bad condition. Many of the edible mushrooms become wormy and, believing that you are taking home a good handful of them, you end up throwing half when you get to select and clean them. It’s frustrating when it’s so hard to find them and you find yourself half useless!
  • And then you have to know where to find them! But the search is part of the allure of the matter. You have to come out well equipped with a good mushroom knife!



If it receives this name, it is not because of the shape (although it could be similar), nor because of the color, so the taste must be the culprit of such analogy and pun.

And it is not that it tastes like eel. It is mainly because the flavor is really appreciated by the most exquisite palates of the mycological world and it is cooked like elvers. Sautéed with a little garlic and cayenne. I particularly prefer the flavor of Boletus , it has no competitor for my taste. But between the chanterelle and the Cantharellus … a server is «deCantha» by the latter. It depends on what and how it is made, I can prefer one or the other, but they are there.


  • Collecting them in groups or “bouquets” is relatively easy to take away some soil. In addition, the feet are very fibrous and will give way earlier from the base than from the golden foot.
  • The Cantharellus have a very special structure, similar to a trumpet (they are also called trumpets) and the internal tube that goes from the hat to the foot can accumulate remains of litter, small shavings of the forest and earth. It is therefore advisable to open them in half lengthwise and clean the tubes, especially in larger specimens. In children there is usually not this problem.


  • The Cantharellus can be washed although it is said that it is not very advisable in general to wash the mushrooms. I always think so for the simple fact that many times I have caught them raining and they arrive home wet but hey… There are arguments against but we are not going to discuss them in this post. Lettuce centrifuges are very useful for drying mushrooms once they are clean. They are perfect.
  • They immediately release water as soon as they are sautéed in the pan and they are very brief. If they are taken in abundance, I usually sauté them with oil, let the water evaporate and freeze the cooked mushrooms in portions that I will later add to stews, rice dishes, pasta, etc.
  • They can also be dried by “sewing them on a thread” and leaving them hanging in a place with ventilation and heat or put them in the oven at 45ºC with ventilation. They are said to lose flavor on drying and then rehydrating. I particularly think that it is less work to pre-cook them and the result is very good.

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