If you asked me last week where to buy fresh chervil in Manila, I would have probably looked at you with furrowed brows and said something like â€œare you trying to be funny?â€ 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 â€“ 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 wasnâ€™t even sure what to do with the chervil but I promptly purchased it along with the thyme and hummed all the way homeâ€¦
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium) looks similar to wansoy or kinchay but 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 dayâ€¦ 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 thisâ€¦ 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 propertyâ€¦ I hope Vava Veggie corrects this in future herbs labeling.