By Chris Collins
Smell that sweet smell of chestnuts roasting in street corners? Then it’s Christmastime! Since chestnuts hit town in late September and slip out in January, they’re invariably associated with the Holiday Season. What’s stopping you from feasting on them?
Did you know that they pair up perfectly with white wine? They do, as the Italians, Europe’s largest chestnut producers, will swear on oath.
In Madrid, as in any other self-respecting city, there are stands roasting chestnuts in strategic streets. They don’t come cheap, though. At least not in Madrid. A dozen costs between €2.00 and €3.00. Castañeros used to give away two extra nuts for the purchase of a dozen. This year, you’re lucky if you get one!
On Calle Princesa there’s a chestnut stand near the corner of Hilarion Eslava. There’s another on Plaza España. Still another on Plaza de Callao. Now this is the priciest stand at €3 a dozen. The stand at the Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos is one of the cheapest – €2.20 to the dozen. There’s another on Plaza Benavides, one or two along Bravo Murillo, etc. etc.
Apart from their association with Yuletide, did you know that chestnuts reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels? They also reduce intestinal complications such as diverticulosis. More: they’re rich in fat-soluble B vitamins that promote healthy skin, produce red blood cells and improve brain function, and manganese which fights off free radicals in the body and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chestnuts don’t contain gluten, which makes them allies of celiac patients.
Chestnuts are veritable health food, on top of the Christmassy feeling they evoke. Happy eating!
Featured image/thingstodoinbarcelona.com, CC BY-SA4.0; Owen Byrne, CC BY2.0
Chestnut vendor/Frank Vincentz, CC BY-SA3.0 cropped