I love it when these meaty, golden yellow mushrooms show up in the Fall at Far West Fungi or the Alemany market. They sprout from September to February, and are profuse since insects and other animals don't like them. More for us!
Chanterelle mushrooms grow wild in woodsy areas. They're difficult to cultivate, but they sprout easily from forest floors in the US, Asia, and Europe. They have a firm flavor and texture and stand up to cooking and heavy sauces very well.
These mushrooms only need a dry brushing before preparing. The aroma of a chanterelle is sometimes described as being like a fresh apricot. A warning, though. Chanterelles are expensive! Your best bet if you're on a budget is to join your local mushroom club and learn where to pick your own, and how to properly identify them. Who knows, you might have some growing in your very own backyard. Some friends of mine in Oregon have chanterelles growing wild all over their hillside and have been picking them since September, with much more still coming. Here's a photo of their haul:
As for what to do with them, here are some recipes:
Recipe: Cipollini and Mushroom Tart
Here's a very good collection of chanterelle recipes.
Crab-and-Corn Chowder with Bacon and Chanterelle Mushrooms
Shiitake and Chanterelle Pizzas with Goat Cheese
Useful Food Tool: Opinel Mushroom Knife
(Images: Wikipedia and Rob Campbell - thanks!)