What is Chervil?

Chervil, scientifically known as Anthriscus cerefolium, is a delicate herb that belongs to the parsley family. It is native to Europe and is widely used in French cuisine. Chervil has a mild flavor that is often described as a combination of parsley and anise. It is commonly used as a garnish and a flavoring agent in various dishes.

History of Chervil

Chervil has a long history dating back to ancient times. It was highly valued by the Greeks and Romans for its culinary and medicinal properties. The herb was believed to have healing powers and was used to treat various ailments. Chervil was also associated with love and fertility, and it was often used in love potions and rituals.

Culinary Uses of Chervil

Chervil is widely used in French cuisine and is an essential ingredient in fines herbes, a classic herb blend that also includes parsley, chives, and tarragon. It is commonly used to flavor sauces, soups, and salads. Chervil is particularly popular in egg dishes, such as omelets and scrambled eggs, as it adds a delicate and fresh flavor. It is also used as a garnish for its attractive appearance.

Health Benefits of Chervil

Chervil is not only a flavorful herb but also offers several health benefits. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium. The herb is known for its antioxidant properties, which help protect the body against free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Chervil is also believed to have diuretic and digestive properties.

Growing Chervil

Chervil is a relatively easy herb to grow, making it a popular choice for home gardeners. It prefers cool temperatures and partial shade, making it an ideal herb to grow in spring and fall. Chervil can be grown from seeds or transplants and requires well-drained soil. Regular watering and fertilization are necessary to ensure healthy growth. The herb can be harvested when the leaves are young and tender.

Substitutes for Chervil

If you are unable to find chervil or simply want to try a different herb, there are several substitutes that can be used. Parsley is the most common substitute for chervil, as it has a similar flavor profile. Other alternatives include tarragon, dill, and basil. While these herbs may not provide an exact match, they can still add a fresh and herbaceous flavor to your dishes.

Storing Chervil

Chervil is best used fresh, as it tends to lose its flavor when dried. However, if you have an abundance of chervil and want to store it for later use, there are a few methods you can try. One option is to freeze the herb, either whole or chopped, in an airtight container. Another method is to preserve chervil in oil or vinegar, which can be used as a flavorful dressing or marinade.

Interesting Facts about Chervil

Here are some interesting facts about chervil:

  • Chervil is often referred to as “gourmet’s parsley” due to its delicate flavor.
  • The herb is believed to have originated in the Caucasus region of Eurasia.
  • In ancient times, chervil was used as a symbol of sincerity and honesty.
  • Chervil leaves are rich in essential oils, which contribute to its unique flavor.
  • The herb is commonly used in traditional French dishes, such as béarnaise sauce and vichyssoise.


In conclusion, chervil is a versatile herb that adds a delicate and fresh flavor to various dishes. It has a long history and is widely used in French cuisine. Chervil offers several health benefits and is relatively easy to grow. If you are unable to find chervil, there are several substitutes that can be used. Whether you use it as a garnish or a flavoring agent, chervil is sure to enhance the taste of your culinary creations.