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Chanterelle and Morel Mushrooms: Where to Buy in the South Bay

I don't think the mainstream chain grocery stores (e.g., Ralph's, etc.) always has in stock the various mushroom types. I'm specifically looking for chanterelle mushrooms and morels. Anyone know where to purchase them? (I also don't think they carry them at the Farmer's Market, but I could be wrong.) I'm In Torrance.

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  1. I am not in your area but it is unlikely you will find any fresh morels as they are spring mushroom. You may find chanterelles, the season is mostly done I believe. But I think they are able to cultivate chantrelles, not sure about that but know they are a mushroom I can ussually get.

    7 Replies
    1. re: coastie


      Thanks for the quick reply. It looks like you're correct. Rats. I just found a recipe for wild mushroom and pumpkin risotto on the Food Network, and I assumed that all the ingredients were autumn ingredients. Shucks. I guess I'll have to substitute in crimini and porcini (even if dried) for the chanterelles and morels. Thanks again.

      1. re: Pamela

        Since you're in the South Bay, you may also want to head over to Mitsuwa Marketplace and try some of those Japanese mushrooms ... either shimeji or maitake would be nice in that risotto.

        1. re: FED

          I just came back from a shopping expedition. Went to 4 different stores total: 99 Ranch Market, Trader Joe's, Cost Plus Imports, and Ralph's.

          99 Ranch Market (Asian) had shiitake and oyster mushrooms, so I bought those two. I also purchased crimini mushrooms from Trader Joe's. At Cost Plus, they had dried morels, but they were really expensive--$14.99 for a small bag! No thanks. I think my substitute mushrooms should be okay.

          Boy, the pumpkin risotto really requires expensive ingredients. In addition to the mushrooms, it requires "vegetarian risotto." Well, I figured Trader Joe's had it, but they only had the pre-mixed risotto, with all the herbs and mushrooms and stuff--kind of like Uncle Ben's rice. I just wanted plain risotto. Only Ralph's had it, in a pretty big container for $8.99. However, I saw no difference between Ralph's risotto and ordinary white rice. Isn't risotto supposed to be more of a pasta anyway, but with the appearance of rice kernals? Ralph's "risotto" just didn't seem right to me, so I'm going to use ordinary white rice.

          FINALLY, the pumpkin risotto requires "truffle oil." I vaguely recall that Trader Joe's carried it, but apparently not on the day I need it. Ralph's doesn't carry it, but Cost Plus had it for $10.99 per container.

          1. re: Pamela

            Risotto is nothing like pasta. The pasta you are thinking of is orzo. Risotto is a hard rice where the outside of the kernel tends to get creamy while the very heart of the kernel remains al denti.

            1. re: Pamela

              I'd say the truffle oil is optional. Just whether you want to splurge on that or not.

              But you definitely need risotto rice, which is not ordinary white rice. The creaminess from specific types of rice is what makes risotto different. I get arborio rice imported by Alessi at the Ralph's Fresh Fare in downtown.

              1. re: Pamela

                I regularly shop at two TJ's in the Westside - both carry arborio rice. You might try requesting it at the front manager's counter of your local TJ's.

                A substitute for the black truffle oil is either truffled butter - black is usually less expensive - at Bristol Farms, etc.; or (I think it's parm or pecorino) cheese w/ black truffle - available at TJ's. Your recipe probably calls for butter and/or parm or pecorino cheese. You could finish with either or both. I've tried both products and either will do the trick. Whether you go for the infused oil, butter or cheese, you might end up having a lot of uses for it. If you like the general flavor/aroma profile of truffles in general, you'll find yourself reaching for the stuff to put on pasta, rice, eggs, breads, etc., so don't be afraid to invest in it if you like the stuff. Just make sure you finish with it - if you put it in too early, you'll lose a lot of the aromas before the dish is complete.

                1. re: Pamela

                  fresh shiitakes might work ok ... they have a nice smoky flavory ... but the oysters would probably be disgusting. don't look for "risotto" look for "arborio rice." truffle oil is always optional.

          2. Was stunned to see fresh chanterelles at Costco in MdR. One pound pack in their refrigerated produce room for $8.99. According to the label, it's a product of British Columbia. Tried them last night with a risotto - had to do some minor cleaning - slight debris, fir needles and the like. Slight earthy flavors, tender, succulent, great mouthfeel. You might try calling one of the Costcos in the South Bay to confirm that they have them...

            1. I shop at the asian markets all the time, I have never seen chanterelles or morels. Go to Bristol Farms on PCH for these. Whole Foods in El Segundo a better option if you can drive a bit. The WF in Rolling Hills Plaze sometimes has them, but much less likely than El Segundo. I buy these mushrooms frequently, and sometimes have to go to both places as they often are out of stock. O

              1. Okay, I just went to Whole Foods, at one poster's recommendation, and also Costco. Whole Foods (Torrance) didn't have too many wild mushrooms, but they did have an orange mushroom called Lobster mushroom, which really looks like lobster shells. I didn't buy it though.

                Costco has a larger cannister of "mushroom blend," which consists of porcini, morels, brazilian, ivory portabellas, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms--all for $16.00.

                I ended up returning the truffle oil. It really was optional; it was for the garnish portion. Next time it would help to read the directions before purchasing any unnecessary ingredients, rather than simply rely on the ingredient list alone.

                Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions!

                1. Oh, lord. You all are not going to believe this. Now I have to go hunting for 5-spice, which I've never even heard of. I just assumed it was another name for all-spice. Since it is a Chinese spice, I likely could have purchased it at 99-Ranch.

                  Now for a trip to Penzey's Spice....and Ralph's for arborio rice.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Pamela

                    You might consider modifying the recipe, i.e., simplifying... IMHO, Chinese 5-spice and black truffle-anything would be a waste if combined in a dish... With so many things going on in this dish of yours, I wonder if a lot of your effort will be lost in translation...?

                    1. re: Pamela

                      5 spice is easy to find, yes to any asian market, maybe even ralphs. Can you tell us what you are making? some kind of wild mushroom risotto perhaps?

                    2. During the season (which I am not sure of) Alpine Village Market in Torrance carries them over by the deli counter, usually on top of the cheese display. I have had good specimens, Not sure where they get them from. Call first.

                      1. Hi Pamela! Are you making "Wild Mushroom and Pumpkin Risotto Recipe Courtesy of Ming Tsai Show: East Meets West With Ming TsaiEpisode: Risotto--Biscotto"?

                        That is one different recipe.

                        It calls for one cup of morels, which, as you have found out, are VERY expensive. I usually sub in dried porcinis. Also, the instructions don't say so, but I bet the 'Four cups of vegetarian risotto' is meant to be already cooked, not raw. And I think by 'vegetarian',Tsai means prepared with a veggie broth, instead of the traditional chicken. The additional seasonings from a mix are OK since there is so little other seasoning in the dish itself. Risotto is also tricky to work with; the finished product isn't light and fluffy, its more of a mashed potato consistency, or rice in a creamy sauce. Keep it warm after you cook it, before you incorporate the pumpkin.

                        For the two cups of pumpkin, TJs sells chopped peeled butternut squash...make your life a little easier...

                        Since this is an 'East meets West' recipe, and I don't sense you have a feel for risotto (yet! It is an addictive dish, especially if one has a pressure cooker!), I would try it for yourself first. I don't find the combo of ingredients particularly appealing. There are many killer recipes for Squash risotto that I would try first, then add in the Asian elements.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: leetmom7

                          Yup, that's the recipe.

                          Just tried the recipe, substituting oyster mushrooms for chanterelles and crimini mushrooms for the morels. Also used shiitakes. The risotto turned out nicely! And very healthy too, since I didn't use any salt at all. The pumpkin gives it a nice sweetness. Overall, a healthy, tasty dish, although I think some people might think it could use additional salt and seasoning. It reminded me of Chinese sticky rice.

                          Consistent with the pumpkin theme, I made a cornbread and Italian-bread stuffing, baked in a pumpkin shell, as well as a pumpkin cake with cream-cheese frosting. Everything turned out surprisingly well. And nothing was too complicated, although there was a lot of chopping involved, which I did the day before, and stirring (with the risotto).

                          Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions!

                        2. Just for future reference...there is a pretty good mushroom vender at the Torrance farmers market on Saturday. She has very good prices comparatively. You could also try Grow the produce store in Manhattan Beach. He was formerly a farmer and has very good suppliers. I bet he could keep you up to date on what is the freshest at various times of the year. A little more pricey, but very good selection.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Rizza

                            This is good to know. Thank you! I don't normally buy mushrooms at the Farmer's Market, so am completely oblivious if any of the vendors have them.

                            1. re: Rizza

                              Her name is Jeanie "the mushroom lady" and she also sells some other stuff (she sold me a melon in the summer that was pretty tasty). Really sweet lady.