Castagne – the winter street food of northern Italy
They are back, they are hot and I am frozen. I am always hungry for this little paper bag of messy chestnuts. Castagne can be boiled, cooked in the oven, on the stove or in the fire place. And naturally they are paired well with most types of alcohol or anything that will help you warm up.
For me, the castagne are a little part of the romantic side of Italy. I love walking around various markets in the freezing cold eating castagne and trying to balance a mulled wine.
Your hands will briefly freeze without your gloves, chances are high that you will burn your fingers peeling the hot shells, while spilling wine everywhere as your scarf collects the debris. But the act of de-shelling hot castagne whilst spilling a hot beverage on yourself is just part of the cultural winter experience here in Italy.
A food that is great to share, a yummy snack and something that makes you feel included in your local christmas market!
*Note to self: Do not learn the hard way, remember to score your chestnuts or they will blow up during the cooking process.