As new chestnut growers we have heard about the delight of a Marron Glace, but had not experienced the unique flavour.
Then John was working in Manila in the Philippines and was taken to a Spanish restaurant where “Marron Glace” was being sold .For the first time he tasted this unique product and now he is hooked.
This delicacy originated in Southern France and Northern Italy. The sweet chestnut is glazed in a sugar solution and then candied and either eaten on its own or as a dessert.
The origin of this approach to treating a sweet chestnut started when the crusaders returned from their travels and introduced sugar into southern Europe. The first known development was in the 15 century in the region of Piedmont. The first written documentation was in France in the 17 century.
During the reign of Louis XIV, Francios Pierre De la Varenne, a celebrity chef of the time wrote “Le Parfait Confiturier” and the sweet chestnut became a celebrity
The book was edited many times over the next few years, but the recipe stayed in.
Marron Glace became famous again in the 19 century in Lyon, France when the textile market collapsed in that town. Clement Faugier a road engineer started looking at ways to rebuild the economy and joined forces with Privas Ardeche in 1882 to set up a confectionary factory to produce Marron Glace. This was a true labour of love as once the chestnut has been picked there are 20 steps in the process to make a marron Glace.
The process in Spain took a lot longer to develop and the first factory was opened in 1980 by Jose Posada in Ourense in Spain. Many of the products purchased, including the purchase in Manila are from the Spanish exporter.
We are in our early days of chestnut product development, but one of our ambitions is to create a candied chestnut reminiscent of Marron Glace in West Australia. We have long way to go, wish us luck.