A seasonal Chestnut cheesecake dessert at Blue Water Cafe.
Ten tasty chestnut-flavoured holiday items
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”
It’s that time of the year and I’m so excited! As intoxicating as the smell of fried onions from hot dog stands is, so is the smell of chestnuts being roasted on the streets of Downtown Vancouver.
It’s one of my favourite fall/winter ingredients, and it’s enjoyed sweet or savoury. However, growing up with Asian cuisine, it was a year-round ingredient. They come pre-peeled and packaged at T&T Supermarket, or even frozen. While it might not be the same as fresh, it does the job fine.
I’m still a bit traumatized thinking back to the day when I first tried roasting them at home. Shame on me for not doing research first, but I never slit the shell to let the steam escape and they ended up exploding on the ceiling and me. It hurt – a lot. If you try it as home, please remember to look up instructions and follow them carefully.
If you don’t have the time or want to deal with the hassle or roasting and peeling your own, then chefs around the city have done it for you. Some of them are resorting to canned chestnut puree, which isn’t necessarily bad since it depends on the application. As long as it’s a quality product, fresh or preserved isn’t really fair to compare since both have different qualities that work well with different dishes.
Here are 10 chestnut items available during the holidays: