This is a very traditional Swiss dessert known as vermicell.
Or, as I call it:
'That dessert that looks like worms';
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?