Do chestnut roasters set up at Chinese grocery stores like 99 Ranch in LA? I often see them this time of year in the SF area.
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.
Yes, I love the sidewalk chestnut roasters throughout Japan. And the abundance of chestnut desserts
This thread is so intriguing.
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.
JJ Bakery also has a Mont Blanc with chestnuts but I haven’t tried it. Their other desserts are great though, so I’m sure that is as well.
Duke Bakery makes a really good roasted chestnut bun
oh my god thank you… we’re big chestnut people and cant find enough
we make creme de marron for our crepes at home regularly.
it’s a different chestnut… the big ones here don’t peel right and are more bland in flavor… italian ones and the japanese ones we’ve tried are so much nicer
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…
Agreed. Just saw some of the Italian variety this morning at Roma Market in Pasadena. Very small. Want to say they were $5.99/lb.
Not that old chestnut again.
You mean this guy? (photo courtesy of JustJared.com)
Another Mont Blanc but at ST Patisserie.
I wish Costa Mesa was closer to me
Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa. Expensive at $15 per lb but great.
These peel ‘n’ eat chestnuts are truly finger-licking delicious. Make sure to score the nuts deeply so that the peels will open as they roast.