Colour Your World: Chestnut

Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts are a tradition in our town. Every year the Chestnut seller’s family arrives from the Italian part of Switzerland, where the genuine roasted chestnut trees grow, and he sets up his house on the market place. It has been the same family for many years, and after living in and around Solothurn for almost 50 years, I have noticed how the married couple running the business have got older with the years.

Roasted Horse Chestnut seller, Solothurn

They also sell peanuts, the best you can buy, and they always seem to have a better taste than those in the stores.

There are chestnuts and chestnuts, and I even have a tree in my garden in a pot, that I managed to rear from a local chestnut tree. However, the chestnuts that are roasted and eaten are different to those that would grow on my tree. They have more spikes, and very fine. Here is a photo I took on our market where they were selling them in the raw state.

Marroni

And by the way, they are known under the italian name of “marroni” in our area, probably because it is the Italian speaking families from the Ticino area of Switzerland that usually sell them. They often call “heisse marroni” (hot chestnuts) when selling them, but not in our town. They have no need, everyone knows where they can buy them.

Colour Your World: Chestnut

25 thoughts on “Colour Your World: Chestnut

  1. Yum. I love roasted chestnuts. We had chestnuts, and bacon bits, with our brussel sprouts at Christmas – delicious. They sell brussel sprout coleslaw in Newcastle so one of my grandsons won’t touch it, though I couldn’t see much of the b.s. in it.
    And my brother in Ireland puts a conker in every window corner and shelf “to stop spiders.” It seems to work.

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    • We often cook chestnuts together with red cabbage which I very much like. I noticed that it now seems to be in to have bacon with brussel sprouts, in England it seems. I like my brussel sprouts with a bite and not well done as my mum always cooked them. Neverheard of brussel sprout coleslaw, only with cabbage.
      I would not stop spiders, During Winter I rarely see one, and in Summer they have their use for trapping the flies and other small insects in their webs.

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      • I read somewhere spiders are a sign of a clean house, but cobwebs are a sign of a dirty one. Not quite sure how that works if you keep destroying the spider’s webs.
        And there was mainly cabbage in the slaw, just tiny green bits which were probably the sprouts. We like them with a bite, and we had red cabbage too, which I love, though without the chestnuts this year.

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  2. Pingback: Colour Your World: Chestnut — Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – milibro2016blog

  3. This was a cool post. I had no idea that chestnuts had spikey stuff on the outside in the natural state. This looks somewhat like the stuff that is all over the place here that is referred to as “ball moss”. It is an air plant that attaches itself to the trees (and everywhere else!), but isn’t parasitic to the host plant. It lives on air.

    Have a blessed day!

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    • We have many chestnut trees where I live. In Autumn the kids like to collect the “conkers” and play games with them. Our chestnuts are not so much the edible kind, but are suitable for animal food. The good ones that they roast are found in the warmer parts, as in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland and Italy is a great country for chestnuts. The chestnuts are encased in a second tough skin and you have to break it open to get to the actual fruit. In Autumn when the skin breaks open and the chestnuts fall from the trees. The only plant I know that attaches itself to the trees is mistletoe and we have a lot here. However that is parasitic.

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      • Thank you for explaining about those chestnuts and “conkers”.
        Here is a link to a Wiki article about air plants. Air Plants.
        I think that I’ve seen mistletoe growing here, too, but I’m not sure. I know it was growing where we lived in South Carolina. I never saw the air plants in South Carolina, though.
        Have a blessed day!

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  4. I am Italian on my dad’s side of the family and roasted chestnuts were a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Oh, I loved them. We would darn near burn our fingers off but we all loved them! This was a great memory jogger of a post–thanks so much.

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    • Hot roasted chestnuts are everywhere in Europe, we even had sellers in London. However Italy is the country for them, sold everywhere on the streets. We can buy them in the supermarket fresh in season, otherwise dried for cooking and there is a special sweet variety known as vermicelles. The coconuts are cooked with sugar and cream and passed through a machine arriving as brown strings, something like spaghetti. They are afterwards garnished with whipped cream.

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  5. What could be more chestnut than a real chestnut? Well, horse chestnut are also chestnut, but ou can’t eat. I love chestnuts. Every once in a while when i’m feeling ambitious, I roast some in a big iron pan.

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    • That was exactly my thought. The differences between some of the colours are so minimal.I have roasted them myself, but now only buy the dried ones to include in a food dish. Mr. Swiss might bring some home if he is in town from the roasted chestnut hut.

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  6. This is a really nice post. I live in Dornach and love all things italiano and ticinese. Thanks for sharing. I gave just started a poetry blog on WordPress in case you have time to have a look?

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