04 Oct2005

Chervil & Thyme

by Marketman

If you asked me last week where to buy fresh chervil in Manila, I would have cherv1probably looked at you with furrowed brows and said something like “are you trying to be funny?” Chervil is one of those great herbs that are an absolute necessity for some types of western cooking, but I have never been able to buy it in Manila. I have tried to grow it from seed with no success. I have hounded specialty shops to bring it in along with their other imported herbs, to no avail. So it was a real Marketman moment when aimlessly perusing the vegetable offerings at the Shoemart Makati Supermarket, I came across a package of fresh chervil grown by Vava Veggie, Inc. I have featured this grower before for their haricots verts. YAHOO! Are you kidding me? Was I happy or was I happy? And beside the chervil was a packet of fresh thyme to boot – another terrific herb that until recently was really hard to find (though it has been raised in Tagaytay for at least the last year). I wasn’t even sure what to do with the chervil but I promptly purchased it along with the thyme and hummed all the way home…

Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) looks similar to wansoy or kinchay acherv2but has a much more delicate leaf and a more delicate flavor. It tends to enhance a dish, say as an addition to a delicate salad of well picked salad greens, or as a garnish for soups, or once I saw, as an imbedded leaf in a homemade wide pasta that I would like to try some day… Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is part of a huge family of different related thymes and it is a stronger and more impressively flavored herb (like rosemary) that is good in marinades, with meats, and as an indispensable part of a classic bouquet garni. I love lemon and thyme chicken, and posted a recipe for my version earlier in the year. Each packet of herbs pictured here cost PHP82, pricey but worth it. And I really liked the simple but easily opened packaging. I do have one beef, however, and hope that the Vava Veggie folks read this… The labeling of the chervil and thyme including its Culinary, Cosmetic and Medicinal uses, appears to be completely identical (plagiarized?) to the descriptions in the book The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness first published in 1988. And you all know what I think about stolen intellectual property… I hope Vava Veggie corrects this in future herbs labeling.



  1. Butch says:

    That’s GREAT!!! I’ve been looking for fresh thyme and now I know it’s available and where to get it.

    Oct 4, 2005 | 10:33 am


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  3. oscar says:

    I was able to grow thyme out of those seed packets sold in Ace Hardware. I positioned them on the window sill in direct sunlight. Thyme works very well with cheese dishes even if your cheese is just Eden or QBB.

    Anyway, there’s one stall in Paseo de Santa Rosa which sells fresh herbs and other salad ingredients like cherry tomatoes and lettuce. Not sure if they carry chervil, but most are delivered straight from Tagaytay. Sometimes though you have to reserve a quantity due to the huge demand from nearby subdivisions.

    Oct 4, 2005 | 10:49 am

  4. Kai says:

    There’s fresh thyme most days at Rustan’s Rockwell, along with other fresh herbs like marjoram, rosemary, etc. They come from Tagaytay, planted by “Fishers of Men.” About P35-50 per bag.

    Oct 4, 2005 | 11:59 am

  5. acidboy says:

    in terms of putting these great herbs in the shelves, vava-veggie (owned by the guingonas) deserve the props. but as a regular user of herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme usually) i found that it would be better for me to grow them na lang, like what oscar does. nothing like making margherita pizza with fresh basil picked off the branch!

    for my seeds and garden needs, i go to this place called ramgo’s garden store in 57 general lim st, heroes hill, q.c., just behind the general motors dealership in quezon ave.

    Oct 4, 2005 | 12:16 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Butch, yes thyme at SM. Also, as Kai points out Rustan’s Rockwell has it some days of the week as well. This thyme at Rustan’s is grown in Tagaytay. You can also buy live plants at the Toscana stand on the way up to Tagaytay from Sta. Rosa. Oscar and acidboy I agree home grown herbs are so much better. But I seem to have a black thumb so even mature plants such as giant rosemary that I purchase seem to die on me. I would love to have a huge herb garden but the only things I can consistently keep alive are oregano, basil, rosemary (barely) and a lot of the native herbs. Besides, when I do use herbs I use a lot so I would feel bad about mowing down my thriving thyme plant if I had one…

    Oct 4, 2005 | 1:50 pm

  7. fried-neurons says:

    From the pic it looks like flat leaf Italian parsley. Ano ang difference? I use flat leaf parsley all the time pero I have never used chervil…

    Oct 4, 2005 | 3:25 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Flat leaf parsley has bigger leaves and a bolder flavor. Chervil is literally thinner, more delicate and the flavor more subtle. Use with say steamed asparagus and a mayonnaise chervil dressing. Or perhaps with the most expensive mesclun you can find with a raspberry vinaigrette. Or on the net, I saw a suggestion for Belon oysters with a champagne chervil mignonette sauce with beluga caviar…talk about over the top!

    Oct 4, 2005 | 3:57 pm

  9. joey says:

    I usually get fresh thyme in either Santi’s or Rustans, or Tagaytay, but again I can’t always be sure it’s there. Thanks for the chervil tip! :)

    Oct 4, 2005 | 7:14 pm

  10. virgilio says:

    Thanks for the info. What variety of thyme do they grow in Tagaytay? Just sent a packet of thyme seeds to a friend for his friend who runs a resto in Manila and who wants to grow his own, the variety he gets in Manila not producing the aroma to his liking. This resto owner was looking for the Jamaican variety and I’m afraid the seeds I sent may not be the right one either. Will appreciate it very much if you can tell me the variety you got so I can advise this friend where to get his precious thyme. Virgilio

    Oct 4, 2005 | 8:56 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    The thyme in the photo is T. vulgaris or what is otherwise referred to as common thyme. It has a woody stem that is characteristic in the second season in colder climates. Frankly, it isn’t bad. It isn’t as aromatic as the thymes you get in colder countries but I find the temperature and soil affects all western herbs here…ergo sweet basil here is more like grass when made into pesto… or chives appear sharper, etc. If we grew pandan, tanglad, etc. in Norway or Alaska I am sure it would have subtle differences too…

    Oct 4, 2005 | 9:41 pm

  12. kulasa says:

    I found some herbs in South Supermarket (Alabang) that come in small quantities. I like them because I usually cook just for two. They’re priced from PHP 3-7 per packet, depending on the herb. I don’t know who grows them but they really come in handy.

    Oct 9, 2005 | 10:04 am

  13. Marketman says:

    Kulasa, that’s good to know… nice that they are so reasonably priced and available…

    Oct 9, 2005 | 11:07 am

  14. arence delos reyes says:

    we are growing diff kind of europian herbs…including thyme, rosemary,chervil, tarragon,oregano,parsley and so on…for those who got interested plz feel free to call on my mobile…09195559494 im arence deols reyes
    you can buy fresh or dried one as you like…

    kind regards,

    Aug 21, 2007 | 4:55 pm

  15. arence delos reyes says:

    we are growing different types of herbs in the philippines….pls contact 09175073004 to those who are interested or send email to me arenz_123@yahoo.com


    Jan 27, 2009 | 1:31 pm

  16. Jun says:

    Arence, you mean, flat leave parsley? ginalugad ko na ang buong supermarket ng SM at robinsons pero wala akong makita.

    Sep 12, 2009 | 2:55 pm


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