Photo by Tijana Drndarski
Scent of November, scent of chestnuts: the association is almost involuntary.
Despite the fact that this autumn is noticeably late, as it was the summer, nature does not stop and offers typical products to be enjoyed a few months before the coming of winter.
Roasted chestnuts, or “caldarroste”, are a seasonal delicacy found in nearly every Italian street or market. The scent of them roasting fills the air in autumn.
Chestnuts are fruits of the sweet chestnut tree (Castanea sativa), an arboreal plant which grows in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and West Africa.
Healthy and nutritious, chestnuts were in the past an essential food, and they also earned the nickname of “poor man’s bread”.
Roasting chestnuts is the best way to bring out the fullest flavour.
Before roasting, chestnuts need to be prepared with an incision on the skin which will allow the vapor to escape and the skin to open up as it shrinks. When cooked, the skin will come off easily.
Traditionally, the “caldarroste” are roasted in a holed pan, but they can also be cooked in the oven or on the stove; to be eaten hot one after the other, searing fingers and dyeing one’s hands black, that’s how they become “caldarroste”…
The perfect moment comes with a glass of wine and a lit fireplace. This is one of those experiences that put you at peace with the world and perhaps even with yourself.
Great for your health!
Chestnuts are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals (e.g. manganese, copper, molybdenum and magnesium) and they are recognized to help reducing cholesterol levels, stabilising blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of constipation, increasing brain function and energy levels, boosting the immune system, fighting off free radicals in the body and reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Also, chestnuts are gluten-free and can be consumed with great benefit by patients with celiac disease.
So, what are you waiting for? Get them on!