roasting chestnuts

  • Wed
    Dec 14
    8:00 pm -
    9:00 pm
  • Fri
    Dec 16
    8:00 am -
    9:00 am

GREAT TASTE Is All About Chestnuts This Week

Chestnuts-Great Taste Live

Whenever I think of chestnuts the first image that pops into my mind is a street vendor in Rome selling fresh roasted marroni (chestnuts) in little brown bags.  The smell of a wood fire wafts into my nostrils, and my heart fills with longing to walk the streets of Roma on a cold December night with my wife, and stroll from piazza to piazza experiencing the wide variety of stalls filled with a myriad of items for Natale.

Next I am transported to a small woods in Cerro, a tiny town above Verona at the foot of the mountains.  Our family is walking with Severina, our Italian mother, and she is instructing us on how to find and pick up chestnuts. She turns the leaves over with her cane uncovering more and more of the prickly cases that encase the nut.  We stuff our bags full, and head to her apartment to roast some, and get warm.

It may not be quite as romantic, but John Freeberg, Michael Havelka, and a few other folks joined me at Green Building Supply on Tuesday, December 13 for our own local chestnut festival.  John turned out a quite delicious apple/chestnut soup.  Also, he made a chestnut hummus, a chocolate cake with chestnuts, and the live audience enjoyed a triple cream cow's milk cheese (Trillium from Fox River Dairy)with a honeycrisp apple, and hot spiced apple juice.

Michael Havelka talked about the chestnut, its history in the States and Iowa, growing chestnuts for profit, and John chimed in about preparing them in numerous ways. We also tackled such lofty topics as the future of agriculture with Avi Pogel, Dr. Thimm, Chef Eric, and one or two other folks contributing to the lively discussion. 

Next month join me and Chef Eric from Everybody's Cafe LIVE at GBS at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 3.