"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Monday, October 25, 2010

Delmarvelous Farms (Chestnuts) - October 23, 2010

Chestnuts are quintessentially Autumn:  The smoky aroma of the roasted chestnuts fills the street corners as vendors hand out bags full of those little plump shiny brown beauties.  Getting the meat out of chestnuts, breaking and peeling away the hard shells and the inner skin, is actually fun - a moment filled with frustration and, much much more, delicious anticipation.  Well, quintessential I said, but only so anywhere but the good old U.S.A:  A blight in 1904 practically killed off the American chestnuts.  Having recently tasted the fresh chestnuts of the season in a town renowned for its chestnuts in Nagano, Japan, I was set on a mission to find fresh chestnuts on this continent.

What a great age we live in!  A quick search on the Internet returned Delmarvelous Farms:  It was about time someone started cultivating chestnuts again in the U.S.; after all, the blight had occurred 100 years ago.  Always erring and risking on the side of ordering too much, I got myself a 10lb bag of their freshly picked chestnuts. 

Following the expert's advice, I scored an "X" on the flat side of the nuts and put them into the hot seat for some roasting.  Half an hour later, voila, beautifully cracked and piping hot, the chestnuts seemed ready to be eaten.  Impatience got my fingers burnt as the steam escaped from the helpfully scored "X."  Undeterred in any case, I proceeded to test out Delmarvelous' claim that their chestnuts were easy to peel:  They were.  The bigger and deeper the score was, the bigger cracks the chestnuts made.  So, score well.

Tasting:  Not so sweet as some Asian counterparts, these chestnuts were nonetheless very nutty and fragrant.  The roasting had charred the shells slightly which made the kitchen smell like a wood cabin.  These Delmarvelous chestnuts were generally more similar to the European chestnuts than the Asian:  The texture was firmer than the softer and starchier Asian ones and the color of the flesh was yellow compared to light brown.  One word of caution:  These nuts were creepingly addictive.  By the time I thought I was done with the sampling, more than half of the nuts were already gone.  I see that 10lb bag was the right choice after all.

Delmarvelous Farms

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