I'm very fond of cornichons, which, if you don't know, are essentially pickled gherkins flavored with tarragon. There might be some other spices as well but basically they're small, crisp and tart pickles.
Anyway, does anybody know of any brands that might be considered the best?
I live in Minnesota and buy a brand called Maille from the local grocery store. That's the only brand I've ever seen around here.
Does anybody know of any other brands that might be considered "better" than Maille?
I've been buying Trader Joe's for so long I can't compare it to others. Like them and the price is, of course, good.
I've got Maille in my fridge too - largely because they're reliable flavor-wise, but also because the jar I buy has a clever little plastic cornichon-lifter thing that makes me smile about not having to stab futilely or dangle my fingers to get the last gherkins.
But I just as often buy from my farmer's market (I'm in MN, too). I find the cornichons from the market vendor to have just a little more *snap*as a general rule. You can also find cornichons at some deli counters - worth trying a few to see what has the flavor you like.
But that cornichon lifter in the Maille jars?<Merv Griffin Oo-oo-oooh>
Mine are Amora - Amora is to France what Heinz is in the US - the largest manufacturer of mustard, pickles, mayo, etc., etc., etc.
Not saying you don't have a variety that DOES have tarragon, but most are sold with "Cinq Epices et Aromates" -- onion, mustard seed, pepper, coriander, and Jamaican hot peppers (not much; these are mild to the point that I was surprised that there's ANY pepper in it!) -- salt and vinegar of course, just not counted in the herbs and spices. Ordinary, run-of-the-mill cornichons don't have tarragon.
Amora has the lifter doo-dad, too.
sunshine, I'll look into Amora. Thanks. You could very well be right about the tarragon. I just read up on cornichons and one of the entries I found said that they contain tarragon. My jar of Maiille's just say spices for ingredients so that could mean anything.
cayjohan, I'm curious which farmer's market you typically go to. Any one in particular?
whoopdido, I generally go the the main Lyndale market in Mpls; there's an olive vendor in the Annex that sells cornichons (probably closed for the season now). Surdyk's usually has them in the deli, and they ARE nicely tarragon-y. Or at least certainly more tarragon-y than the Maille.
WE have Maille as well--but I have a really cute cornichon story for you...
My fiance and I started going out six years ago. He's French, but has lived in the US for many years. I'm originally a NY'er. Now--the two of us are quite a pair with my NY accent and his French. You have that background..now comes the cornichon story.
We were in the car, on the way to the movies. After the movies he was going to make dinner for me. I asked him what we were having. He explained that the first course (in his french--the entree--for us, first course) would be "Pate and Corn-eeshhon'" I repeated "CORNISH HEN--for an APPETIZER??" "Non--Corn-eeshon"..well this went on for about ten minutes--I was laughing and he was getting his French on. He finally said in a very frustrating voice. "Non..you know zozzz sings that ze jewish pipel et--in zee bahrelllz? "LITTLE ONES OF ZOOZE ARE CORN-EESHON"...I just did not understand his accent. i did not realize that cornishchons were little teensey pickles. To this day I call Cornichons--Cornish Hens. Silly story..but very entertaining!