Today I stopped by Hisaya Roasted Chestnuts in Torrance for a bag of roasted Kyoto chestnuts and tried their matcha chestnut Fuji mountain soft serve ice cream parfait (delicious). I love being able to get fresh roasted chestnuts locally at this little shop, which rarely seems to have customers, unfortunately. That said, another location is opening (has opened?) in Little Tokyo.
What are your favorite chestnut desserts or dishes in L.A.? Are there other purveyors of roasted chestnuts?
There is usually a chestnut roasting specialist stand at the Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa around this time of the year. The chestnuts are very small compared to the ones I find at Whole Foods and Korean markets. The bags come in $5 and $10 sizes if I recall correctly. They give you this little white plastic tool. The serated end is to gently crack open the chestnut. The rounded spoon side is for scooping out the chestnut. I keep this tool and use it yearly. The best roasted chestnuts I’ve had. The 2nd best were roasted chestnuts I bought in Munich from a street vendor. Was in Munich for 36 hours and had chestnuts 3 times.
Chestnuts are “new” to many in America. Billions of American Chestnut trees were killed off by a blight back in the old days. No chestnuts I n America. Out of sight…
Fortunately, cultures in Europe and Asia have always and still love chestnuts. The love runs deep. Even more fortuitous is the recent finding of a grove of chestnut trees found somewhere in the South/Appalachia. Last I read, it wasn’t determined whether these trees were resistant to blight, or were just lucky to have somehow avoided the spread of the blight.
They sure are. Here is a photo I took (just last month) of a roadside chestnut purveyor in Kyoto. We had to queue for like 20 minutes. The vendor is a 5th generation roasted chestnut specialist. And those chestnuts were ethereal.
My mom used to special order chestnuts from a European market, then roast them in the oven. I loved them. We used a hammer and toothpicks to pull out the meat. We used a hammer on nuts most of the time, unless we were eating at the table. Sometimes we had chestnut cake, but I think that was made with packaged chestnut paste.
Dominique Ansel Bakery’s online menu lists:
Chestnut Rose Cassis Mont Blanc…$8.00
Made with chestnut cream accented with rose and cassis, set atop a salted butter cookie and finished with vanilla ganache and a vanilla meringue baton on top.
I’m guessing Eately also has chestnut desserts at this time of year.
I want to say yes, but don’t quote me on that. I believe I’ve seen them, but it’s been yrs since I’ve wandered by a Ranch 99 or a Yao-han/Mitsuwa during the winter. When I was a kid, my parents always just appeared w/ a bag of chestnuts. For some reason, I think they got them in Chinatown?
We used to use walnut crackers (and then our teeth!) until we saw the plastic tool. I think I still prefer the walnut cracker.
It’s been yrs since I’ve had one… Maybe this year…