Welcome to our newsletter for Spring 2016
It’s spring and for us that means the start of the chestnut year when the trees come out from their winter dormancy. With the cold and wet weather continuing in the North East and in other parts of Victoria too the trees are taking their time coming into leaf. It will be interesting to see if this creates a late harvest next year. We’ve had good restaurant and internet sales (thank you) over the winter months which mean more diners are enjoying chestnuts and whilst chestnuts are traditionally a cooler weather ingredient we’ve got some great recipes perfect for anytime of the year on our site.
In early September Brian and I attended a tri-nut conference in Launceston, Tasmania. It covered Walnuts, Hazelnuts and Chestnuts with speakers covering a wide range of topics common to the three temperate nuts. One of the speakers was Dr. Wadia Kandula who is a plant pathologist working at Lincoln University in New Zealand. He has a great deal of experience with internal rot in chestnuts. The chestnut industry is commencing research into this serious issue and hopefully Wadia will be part of the new project.
It was a busy weekend as industry Annual General Meeting’s were held as part of the conference; especially for Brian who is currently President of Chestnuts Australia, the national chestnut association. I have also taken up a position on the Strategic Industry Advisory Panel for chestnuts which is a panel created by Horticulture Innovation to oversee the expenditure of the chestnut levy on research & development and marketing. This panel sits outside of the association however with such a small industry the linkages between the Association Committee and the Panel are quite strong.
So once again we are both very involved in the industry.
We have been exporting frozen peeled chestnuts to Japan since 2001 to the same customer who we have now become very good friends with. As autumn and chestnut time has just started in the Northern Hemisphere and of course therefore Japan, one of their best customers has just put chestnut soup (with our chestnuts of course) on their menu. They sent us a photo and the dishes are just so lovely, and we are so chuffed about it I had to share it. The restaurant is Ukai-Tei in the Ginza and Brian and I had the pleasure of dining there in 2008. It was a surreal experience and the best meal I have ever had!
The first Myrtleford Farmers Market is being held this weekend – 24 September. We will be there with our chestnut flour, vac-packed chestnuts and puree so if you are around please drop in and say “hello”. Patrizia Simone is doing a cooking class each market and I understand she will be doing something with chestnut flour this Saturday. For more information on the Farmers Market please click here.
European Trip …con’t
As mentioned in my last newsletter last October Brian and I visit Italy and France on a mission to experience Autumn and chestnut time. We moved on from Lake Como (in our last newsletter) to the Ardeche
in France. The Ardeche department is the largest producer of chestnuts in France and during October the whole region becomes involved in a festival called“The Castagnades” Every weekend in October and into November a different village (sometimes 2) host chestnut festivals with hot roasted chestnuts, wine and beer, lots of stands selling chestnut products and of course live music. We have visited the
Ardeche more than 5 times, I’ve lost count, and been to many of the festivals. In 2013 we discovered a restaurant in the small beautiful village of Chalencon called “Chataignes et Champignons” (Chestnuts and Mushrooms). On this trip we visited them again for lunch with our French friends Marie-Do and her husband Olivier. The photo below shows our entree – chestnut soup, sweet and sour chestnuts, chestnut salad, terrine and a unbelievably good chestnut quiche. The quiche must be a signature dish because we had it the first time we visited and I have unsuccessfully begged the chef Stéphane for the recipe. This was just the entree, we had to also get through main course and dessert! It was a very long lunch…
Recipe of the month
In celebration of the start of the Myrtleford Farmers market and their focus on chestnut flour I
thought it appropriate to highlight a chestnut cake recipe which I make regularly. This cake is gluten free and the flavour of the chestnut flour really adds an almost ginger-like quality.
There are many recipes on our website suitable for all year round. Click here to have a look at our selection.
If you’ve got this far – thank you for reading and I look forward bringing you more information in the future. Happy chestnutting,