It's funny how your attitudes towards certain things change when you grow older... when I was little, my parents liked to take us hiking (or just for a short stroll even) in the mountains or forests near my hometown and in autumn, this would invariably end with the whole family running around ressembling contortionists, bending down at every opportunity to pick some mushrooms... and whereas now, there is nothing I enjoy more on a weekend than going for a stroll in Richmond Park (Europe's largest park and home to masses of deer which are so tame you can almost stroke them), I certainly wasn't too keen on it back then.
What I remember most vividly of it now is the scene upon our return - Mum and Dad gathered round the dinner table, the yield of a whole day unfurled on some newspaper, discussing (book in hand and all) which specimens were edible and which weren't. They always ended up with three piles: The poisonous were chucked out. The edible cooked up immediately or transferred into containers for freezing. The third pile consisted of the debatable, ie the ones they disagreed on - my Dad insisting that his book listed them as edible, my Mum showing him a similar-looking picture of a poisonous species... so they would be transferred into container and frozen, but labelled "Fungi - for Rudi only". I am not sure if he ever had them, but he's still amongst us, in case you were wondering.
I am definitely not enough in touch with nature to even pretend I know anything about mushrooms or to trust my instinct enough when it comes to collecting them. Some friends seem to do it instinctively, as if they possessed a quality which is innate in every Austrian, like skiing or yodeling - just don't take me up on the latter - but I can't. I'd like to have this confidence, though, as it is very difficult to buy fresh wild mushrooms in London, even if you are prepared to pay a premium. So I was doubly pleased when I found some chanterelles at my greengrocers one day - they were not only available, they were also affordable. As an added bonus, they were not completely covered in mud (could be a sign of them not having grown in the wild, which would also explain their odd shape and disproportionate stem and hat) which made cleaning far more managable.
As I didn't have an awful lot of the chanterelles available (I did want to buy them but was conscious not to break the bank), I decided to use them were they would be most effective visually - ie as an accompaniment. For the stuffing, I used "revived" porcini instead, but this would really work with anything you pick up on a stroll through the woods or the ailes of your supermarket, for that matter...