Being from the west coast of the USA, “Chestnuts roasting by an open fire” was never part of our winter traditions. So I will never forget our first visit to Germany when we stepped out of a train station and there was an open fire with roasted chestnuts. I immediately bought some and Karin and I tasted them on the spot. I spit my bite back out; Karin politely swallowed but did not have another. We found them dry and bitter.
Now fast forward to this week when a friend shared their harvest of walnuts and chestnuts. We looked askance at the chestnuts and decided to use them as autumn decoration. Then a few days later I received a news item from the ANA: “Annual Chestnut Party begins in Kavala” This inspired me to do a little research. I found that they can be prepared any number of ways. Since it is still too warm for a fire and the barbeque is a hassle, I opted to steam a few of the chestnuts. Twelve minutes later we dipped them in melted salted butter and gingerly took a nibble. Eureka! they were quite good.
I also learned the chestnut has a long and noble history. The tree is considered the tree of Zeus and Alexander the Great planted them during his travels as a substitute for grain. Many cultures have followed suit as they grow well on mountainous terrain. So in October many northern Greece communities have Chestnut Festivals. The one in Kavala is said to consume 5 tons of nuts and 1,000 kilos of wine. I think that may be an exaggeration on the chestnuts but not the wine.
Photo from Eternally Cool Net
- At October 28, 2009 6:27 AM PeggyInPrague said...
Michael and Karin, Love your story about Chestnuts. We just went to the store here in Prague and I spotted some of these little jewels which made me think of your blog. I'm going to try your steamming method with melted butter. Sounds yummy!