Saturday, March 28, 2015

The tradition of wine and chestnuts

The sweet smell of roasting castagne. Chestnuts!
Roasting chestnuts is obviously a seasonal thing.  The gentle sweet nuttiness of roasted chestnuts makes me think of barren trees and grey late autumn days that are fading to winter, frost on the Fiat and somewhere warm to stand next to while peeling chestnuts.  Chestnuts also make me think of this cake.  Traditionally, they are a staple over Christmas starting with San Martino (for the new wine) in November and ending about the time of the Epifania (and Christmas visiting) on the 6th of January.   

How to pick and how to prep: assuming you aren't taking them straight from the tree, here is a good intro and primer.

Once we have prime specimens, we do it two ways: after notching the chestnuts with an 'x' or slicing a small corner (as above), they can be roasted direct on the stove top or over an open fire in the perforated pan.  Just remember to keep them moving! 

When they are done, wrap the chestnuts in a teatowel.  This lets them sweat and allows them to cool a little (making them easier to handle and peel).  Either way, one thing is certain, they are never far from a glass of vino.

The chestnuts pictured above were sweet indeed.  You don't get any fresher than these, roasted right on the stovetop and shared with Zia Mela, Maria, Stefano and Salvatore along with Salvatore's vino rosso.  Perfect.

To our dear Zia, thank you for your hospitality and I will see you again soon.  Be well.

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