The chestnuts producers in the region, especially ones in Yamae Village have been the purveyors to the Imperial Family and known to be the best kind in Japan. The climate of basin with large temperature difference and the soil with a lot of iron give the perfect an environment for chestnuts to be sweet and meaty.
There are the fruits of angels in the spiky shells. We cannot pass creating something delicious with these gorgeous chestnuts after the plum season is over.
It is harder to have a supply of Yamae chestnuts because of its popularity and we were concerned. But how lucky we were! Our old friend producer was able to deliver their best harvests. They are very dense, round and shiny. We love how they look. We took a minute just stir at them.
Peeling the two layers of shells is a hard work. Most of the work is done by the ladies from the producer side and we also tried. It takes twice much time to complete. Out thumbs are sore. The ladies are the true professional and we admire their skills over years and years of shacking chestnuts.
We are boiling the chestnuts. Due care is given to keep a purity of the taste and natural golden color. Our member French chef repeated the process and we know how important it is. The aroma of the chestnuts in the steam is fascinating.
We wanted to create something for the adult palate and came with pairing with Shochu Brandy. Shochu brandy is made with rice and aged in cognac barrels for years and it is a limited edition from all rice shochu. We found the roundness of the shochu brandy in contract to the regular grape based brandy matches perfectly with hearty chestnuts. The aromatic brandy is so inviting during the production process. We kept our hands off from the bottle!
Another note to the ingredient is the salt we used. It is made in Goto Islands in Nagasaki. It is full of minerals and magically making the chestnuts taste more attractive.