The Touraine is famous for its walnuts, although it does not hold an AOC for them. Still, there is a walnut tree in almost every field and along roadsides. There is no real need to possess your own walnut to secure a year round supply – just go for a walk and pick them up off the ground – everyone does it.
I buy walnuts these days though. There is an elderly man from Boussay who comes to the market in Preuilly. He sells the excess of whatever he is growing in his garden, and I often buy my lettuce, onions, garlic or potatoes from him. I also buy walnuts, and the reason is that I can buy this season's freshly shelled nuts from him. I can also buy unshelled walnuts from him, but since 1kg of unshelled or 500g of shelled is the same number of nuts and the same price it seems mad to buy the unshelled. According to him, there are 40 walnuts to a kilo, and they net you une livre (a pound) of shelled nuts. He charges €3 a bag, shelled or unshelled. He always refers to half a kilo as une livre, and recommends the nuts as a nibble to go with an aperitif.
A while ago I wrote about making Pear and Walnut Cake, and one of our readers recommended Jane Grigson's recipe for Burgundian Walnut Bread. This is a savoury bread, with onions as well as walnuts. I made it while my parents were here in the summer and we had it with soup, and with cheese.