Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Chervil is native to the Middle East and Western Asia. It is believed that it was brought to Britain before the year 1,000. Chervil is quite similar looking to flat leaf parsley but with a very different flavour.
The taste of chervil is sweet and soothing with small hints of anise, parsley, caraway and pepper.
The aroma of chervil is sweet smelling.
Chervil is now used in a lot of French cookery and is one of the ingredients in the fines herbes set.
Fantastic in French cuisine, pairs well with asparagus, eggs, cheese, seafood, potatoes and poultry.
The plant is best grown in partial shade in either the ground or a container. The plant will run to seed if it is too hot or dry.
Chervil is a very fast growing plant, the period between sowing and harvesting is only 6-8 weeks. Once the plant flowers it no longer has a culinary use.
Older leaves will turn pink or yellow and should not be used. It is best to harvest most of the plant before the heat of the summer.
Chervil's name originated from a Greek word meaning either cheer leaf or leaf of rejoicing.
In the Middle Ages chervil was used in hope of warding off the plague. Because chervil is said to bring cheer to those who eat it, it is thought of very favourably for the elderly to eat it. It is also said to help with depression and aid in strength.
Romans believed that chervil was beneficial in helping your memory.
Does chervil taste like parsley?
While they are very similar looking they taste quite different. Chervil has much more of an anise flavour that is quite a bit more delicate. We don’t recommend substituting the two.