Chestnuts (Castagni)

I thought I’d share a personal favourite of mine, roasted chestnuts. These are a kind of memory food. I first remember these at an old neighbour’s house. He had a chestnut tree that hungover both sides of the fence at the front of the house. I’m pretty sure I didn’t like them back then.

Things have changed, and we’ve moved house, so I hadn’t had them in years. The last time I had some was at the end of 2009. This gorgeous lady (a relative in my grandparents’ hometown in Italy) was roasting them on an open fire in her kitchen at the end of our meal. It’s as magical as it sounds. Her and her husband were the most adorable couple I think I’ve ever met. I love them.

So of course, when we saw chestnuts for sale at a local supermarket on the weekend, I just had to grab some.

They’re not hard to roast, you just need to make sure you stab them on the flat side really well. If you don’t, you risk exploding chestnuts. Am I right, Simone?

They’re ready when they’re black and the skins are splitting away from the flesh. You should hear them snap and crackle, it’s great fun.

There are two layers, the shell and the skin. They should both peel away fairly easily. If the skin sticks to the flesh, you can try to pick it away, but if it’s seriously not coming away, just throw the chestnut out, it’s probably past it’s use by date.

They’re an acquired taste, I’m sure. They’re creamy and slightly grainy but definitely have a sweet flavour too. If you see them in the supermarket, why not grab a couple to try out? And make sure to come back and tell me what you think!


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