Where's the Love for Chestnuts?

That's Nuts

A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.


[Photograph: Lee Zalben]

Rome in the fall and winter is a magical place. The air is cool and crisp and everywhere you go, the air seems to be roasted-chestnut-scented.

Earlier this year, I spotted a chestnut vendor in Piazza Navona, which got me thinking more about chestnuts. We don't really eat them in the U.S. a whole lot. At Thanksgiving sometimes you seem them in stuffing or dressing, or during the year, in a salad every once in a while. There are only a few roasted chestnut street vendors left in Manhattan.

In France and Italy they're used in a variety of confections and baked goods, but outside of that, would you agree that chestnuts are an underrated nut? How do you like to eat 'em? Just plain or with other foods?