The Black Trumpet mushroom, also known as Trompette de la Mort and Horn of Plenty, is a delicious winter treat in Coastal Northern California. These relatives of the Chanterelles appear from around December through April up here, but are usually at their best January through March. They will have growth flushes throughout this period. Black Trumpets dry and reconstitute very easily retaining a rich flavor and aroma. Because the dried mushrooms are available to us all year, have become a cornerstone of Turkeysong cuisine.
The mushrooms vary greatly in shape and size. Tidy symmetrical specimens are somewhat rare with the majority being some manifestation of folded, twisted, doubled, twined, lopsided, inside out or otherwise mutant looking. Because they look much like dead leaves or pieces of bark, it takes some experience for one to be able to spot them consistently. The fruiting bodies tend toward gregariousness however, so if one is found there are usually at least a few more very close by and occasionally multiple pounds can be harvested from a patch.