My grandfather was never big on holidays, especially Christmas. The only two things he did every Christmas was buy Baccalà (salted cod) and chestnuts, so that he could have two things he enjoyed in Italy during the holidays here in America. I haaaaaaaated when the Baccalà came into the house – I thought it stunk to high heaven, especially since my grandmother had to soak it repeatedly before she could cook it, but I loved when we put the chestnuts into the oven. The shells became partially black and smelled so good. When you took away the shell (watch! still hot!) the chestnut was so tender and meaty and like nothing we ever had the rest of the year. I loved when we made the chestnuts.
This tea is so close to the warm roasted chestnuts. The woody oolong goes so naturally with a chestnut tea. I had only had one other chestnut tea which was a black tea, and it was all wrong. Too harsh, too cloying, too artificial, and trying to fix it by adding milk and sugar made it nothing like real chestnuts. This tea replicates that barely sweet nutty flavor so convincingly.
Steep 2: Mmmmmmm. Just as good. I almost want to bite down because there has to be chestnut meat there!
(do these French teas not quit or what!?!?! I am again going to save the leaves for some afternoon steeping)
I’m going to take the remaining sample of this tea home, put it safe ’n sound in a tin and mark it for Christmas Eve. Thank you Doulton for this trip to the past.
EDIT: 4 lovely steeps! and I found these articles about chestnuts & Italy fascinating: