A Selection of Chestnuts

Chesnuts carry an entire feel to them of seasonality: Here are the cold days comming, Autumn and Winter. But it doesn't have to be a gloomy affair altogether. A bit of variety makes a life vibrant and so do the season marking the time of the year. Two days ago we did have our first frost of the year in the Garden. It is a bit on the early side this year so we expect a frosty and cold Winter.

However what is to love about Chesnuts if you have a chance to do so in your life is to go and forrage for them in the woods, the forest. First it can be a very lovely day out with the kids and dogs or just by yourself giving yourself a sense of peace, a back to nature little moment. Enjoying the colour of the leaves turning rusty copper like or golden yellow.


Chesnut recolt as you come back from the woods.

Then you can find those little nuggets on the ground, like the purest spiky green within the fallen leaves ready to be picked up. And I can not help myself on that one but to share that link below:

Blackadder Gold Green BBC extract

And I will dare to say or share a little funny experience. My Brother who was a Chef but lost his job due to the pandemic but recycled as a person preparing deliveries for people who were in quarantine or couldn't shop because of self isolation, did work for a few years in London in numerous Pubs and Restaurants. During his time here he dragged me in Hyde Park in a lane where he thought was full of Chestnuts being wasted by being not picked up. So we picked them up. After all the work he made a purée out which was vile. It turned out that he made me eat conkers. I trusted him... Smile... No, no he said: Chestnuts, lots of Chesnuts. Rascal Pascal.

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My Brother Pascal and I, he always ends up in trouble mainly by clumsiness and stubborness, a family trait I guess.

To go back to our Chestnuts, they are seasonal. To make them pop a little, crack a little, roasting them in the oven is an idea but putting them in a skillet just work as well. To eat them just nicely hot like that is a treat in itself. It gives you a cosy sense that the time cosy up and stay warm when we can at home is upon us.


Griddled Chestnuts. A true Winter Treat.

Chestnuts are easy enough to peal especially when they are roasted. In many countries they are eaten during some celebrations or specific days like a particular Saint one. Portugal, France, Italy, England, the Chestnut is valued so much that it does benefit in some area of A.O.C and of provenance labels.


Chesnuts from a certain area deserve to have an AOC. 

Apart from roasted Chestnuts you have specialities made with them. To mention a few there are French Maron Glacé, the Chestnut Liquor of Madeira, Chestnut Bread, and the very Christmasy Chestnut Stuffing.


Chestnut Festive Couronne Cake.

For a Farce or Stuffing there are about four ways to go about it (as far as I know) which are Purée the Chestnuts (roasted them before give more flavours), or finely chopped them in almost a Mince, next method is to still keep a level of chunkyness and chopped them in a more dicing way, last is to put peeled Chesnuts right in there to stuff a Bird. Myself I prefer going for method number two and three.

Then it is up to your imagination to create a good pairing of ingredients for your Stuffing or Farce. For example dried Cranberries could add a little tartness to it. Home Made Breadcrumbs is nearly a must. Diced Lardons, chopped Sage, Orange Zest could all be considered. It is either to make the Chestnut Farce Autumnal or Festive.

Remaining in the realm of Festivities, and Christmas in particular, Chestnuts are a good solution to jazz up the Brussels Spouts but also to decorate a dish like Turkey and to put them around it in a lavish way.


In a more humble fashion Chestnuts do make a very good Soup especially mixed with Potatoes, decorated with Lardons and chopped Chives.

Now there is of course the Water Chestnut which can be used in plenty of dishes, from a Stir Fry to a little Cocktail Canapé Number if you wrap them in Bacon or soft Part boiled Kale Leaves for Vegetarien Guests, hold the little parcel together with little wooden skewers, passing by the Water Chestnut Cake.


Chinese Water Chestnuts. 




Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts
About Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts