Welcome to our newsletter for Autumn 2016.
Well the chestnuts are falling and growers are busy harvesting here in North East Victoria. It has been an early season with nuts falling from the end of February so whilst mid season usually hits around mid-April growers are just about on it now. As many of you will know, Brian and I lost our orchard 5 years ago due to an infection of chestnut blight. We’ve replanted but the trees are still too young to be bearing very much. However, we are confident we will have a big enough crop from next year to commence offering fresh nuts. It will be so good to be sending out fresh chestnuts again as well as all the other chestnut products we have.
The weather in North East Victoria is wonderful this time of year with classic cool mornings and beautiful sunny days that the area is famous for. I’m looking forward to the cooler weather and hot roasted chestnuts.
Maeve O’Meara Food Safari
On 10 March we hosted Maeve O’Meara and her Italian Food Safari tour group. Maeve has been visiting us each year for almost, well , let’s say it’s been a while….Her groups are delightful to host because they are all so interested in food and where it comes from. I am ably assisted during the visit by local Myrtleford living treasure and chestnut expert Don Ardern. He is a real Aussie character and the group loved hearing his anecdotes about chestnuts and his impromptu grafting demonstration had everyone enthralled. I am very much a side act – just giving info on the history of chestnuts in the area and supplying gluten free chestnut cake made using chestnut flour which everyone loved. It’s the same recipe I send out with my flour orders or you can get it online here. For information on Maeve’s tours see her website.
Chestnut Industry PR Campaign
The La Fiera festival will be held in Myrtleford from the 17-22 May. It is an Italian festival that celebrates the Italian culture in Myrtleford with lots of activities such as winery tours, mushroom foraging and cooking classes. One of the major activities is a fantastic “Harvest Feast with Stefano Manfredi” held on Friday 20th May at Gapsted Wines. Stefano is an Italian-born chef, author and leading exponent of modern Italian cuisine and he will prepare a meal showcasing the region’s finest produce (with a focus on chestnuts because he is the official Chestnut Industry Ambassador). The cost is $130 per person including wine and bookings are essential. Phone Gapsted directly on (03) 5751 1383. This is the third year of the event and it sells out so get in quick.
The Chestnut Association has a stand at the main festival day on Saturday 21 May where Brian mans the gigantic chestnut roasting pan and Stefano will be conducting a chestnut cooking class just off the main piazza at 11:30. After the cooking demo Stefano attends the chestnut stand helping to mark chestnuts and offering advice. For more information on the La Fiera festival and the activities on offer, click here.
Our replanted trees are growing but they are just throwing a few nuts and not enough to sell online again. However, we do have a number of chestnut roasting pans now available on the site. We also have some really nice Italian chestnut marking knives arriving shortly that will go up on the site soon. So although we don’t have fresh nuts yet – we are getting ready…
My new favourite recipe is one based on a recommendation from one of my customers – thank you Christine! I call it Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine and it was originally written by Nigella Lawson whom I a great fan and called a Refrigerator Cake. I’ve simply changed around a few ingredients so the recipe uses a whole jar of puree. It’s quick, easy and super delicious which is always a good combo. Click here for the recipe. I’ve also added a Gluten Free recipe category and will be adding recipes from time to time.
If you’ve got this far – thank you for reading our newsletter and I look forward bringing you more information in the future.