I never knew that ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ was actually a thing until moving to Seville.
When the weather turns crisp (which finally happened last week), peddlers wheel out large carts that have a hole cut in the middle, under which coals are heated, and the chesnuts, called castañas, are roasted.
Castaño trees are all over Southern Europe, and the prickly nut is making a comeback in the gastronomic world. During the winter months, they’re picked up off the ground, roasted and scooped into paper cones. I always see kids reaching for them under the sheen of Christmas lights along Avenida de Constitución. I’m reminded of when I was a kid and my mom would take us to downtown Chicago to see the lights and windows at Field’s, and then treat us to Frango Mints and Garett’s Popcorn.
What they are: European chestnuts.
How they’re made: You can easily pick up a half kilo of chestnuts in the produce section of a supermarket and roast them at home by sliting an X into the hard shell and baking them for 30-35 minutes on 220°C. Or, if you’re lazy like me, you can just buy them from a vendor.
Goes great with: Chestnuts are a fantastic snack on the street (and they’re probably the only things you can eat on the run and not have a sevillano stick up their nose at you). They taste smoky and a tad sweet at the same time.
Have you ever eaten chestnuts?