Monday, 27 September 2010


This is a very traditional Swiss dessert known as vermicell.

Or, as I call it:

  1. Vermin-cell;

  2. Chestnut spaghetti;

  3. 'That dessert that looks like worms';

  4. Gross.
I do not have a very discerning palate; if you invite me over for dinner, chances are I will enjoy whatever you prepare for me. But this dessert, ugh!

The first time I realized I hated it was when it was served as the dessert course when we were invited to a friend's house for dinner.

The bowl of swirling sweet chestnut 'noodles' was placed before me, with a dollop of whipped cream, and I dug in greedily. Then I almost spit my bite back into the bowl. I sort of wanted to behave like our host's two year old and scream 'NO!' while swiping the bowl off the table, but I remembered I had some manners, and I persevered in eating the dessert.

Then I almost threw up.

I honest to god almost threw up. Why I didn't politely say I was 'too full' to finish dessert, I'll never know. But the fact is I finished the bowl and then had to use every ounce of mental determination to keep those chestnut worms from crawling back up my throat.

Mental determination and A LOT of water.

Since that first experience, I have tried a couple of bites of this seasonal dessert on different occasions, but my reaction is always the same: an extreme urge to spit it out. I buy this for Dan, but I won't eat it.

So let's cut to today. I am out running errands, and I smell that rich aroma of roasting chestnuts in the air. So I, having never had a roasted chestnut, decided to buy a small bag. I peeled away the hot shell, popped the chestnut in my mouth, and received two shocks: (1) the chestnut was soft, not crunchy. What?? Aren't nuts supposed to be crunchy?; and (2) it tasted like vermicell.


My first reaction was to spit out the chestnut with as much force as possible, so I did--barely missing a guy who was riding by me on a bike.

So imagine this: not only do I hate a dessert that is made primarily of chestnuts, I also hate chestnuts.

Who'd a thunk it? 


Habebi said...

Sounds like you don't agree with the taste of chestnuts! Don't you hate being in situations where you can just spit out the food that is grossly offending you? Poor you!

Ais said...

Ew, that does look grose! Please dont force me to eat it at Christmas. Please? I will behave like the child you were describing and just yell NO! Then proceed to throw it on the floor. Just so you know that is what would probably happen.

jessica said...

you are crazy. roasted chestnuts is the NUMBER ONE thing that i miss about switzerland. sigh. and they are super nuts. they are nuts, but don't have any fat in them (i know because my mom told me i was going to gain weight eating all those chestnuts the one week that she visited...)

M'dame Jo said...

You never had chestnut before?

I love them. Grilled, wormed, cooked in caramel sauce. Mmmmmmh.

And they're not nuts, despite the misleading English name ;)

PS: i haven't forgotten about the trip suggestions for your guess, I just haven't had the time yet.

M'dame Jo said...

It's an achene:


Caitie said...

Habebi-It's the sad truth. I am an outcast in this European land of chestnut devotees. I'm surprised Dan hasn't kicked me to the curb.

Ais-Oh I'm making you eat this. In fact, it's all your getting. And sometimes, you'll wake up in the night feeling like someone's watching, and it will be a bowl of chestnut spaghetti lurking by your bed.

Jessica-I know! And the aroma of a roasting chestnut smells so good, but the taste...the taste! We can still be friends, right? ;-)

M'dame Jo-I think whatever chances I had of integrating into the Swiss club, were just shattered. Dan's embarrassed to take me out in public...I'm sure of it ;-)

M'dame Jo said...

At least, you like the smell. Otherwise, winter's going to be painful ;)

PS: I emailed you a little Ausflug dairy-free suggestion.