Tag Archives: italian chestnuts

Fresh Roasted Chestnuts, Laughing, and Judy Garland and Mel Singing to You

Sakshi the Swiss Chestnut Roaster
Sakshi the Swiss Chestnut Roaster in Asheville

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Really.  Because it’s that time of the year that is the most hectic, with all the shopper’s and all their frustrations, and all the family gathering’s that have to be planned and all the gifts that must be bought and wrapped and then it gets dark so early and it’s cold and maybe it’s gonna be bad weather and! and! and!

Since I bake and send my gifts to my family, I don’t shop, I don’t do any family gatherings, and, we don’t have kids.  We don’t even celebrate Christmas.  Actually, I kind of like it that the more crazy it gets “out there”, the more I slow down and go inside.

Plus, it’s that special time of the year where I can get my fill of one of my most favorite foods: Fresh Roasted Chestnuts!

I get to help out at the Chestnut Stand, which I LOVE to do.  It is such a pleasure to smell the chestnuts roasting.  To watch people.  Look at their shoes.  Sing my favorite Christmas Song with customers: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (The Christmas Song).

To notice how many people are not aware of walking because they are texting or reading a text.  Or an email.  Or on FaceBook.  It’s kinda weird.  But that makes the ones that look me in the eye and smile from their heart really special.  It fills me up.  Oh, there are lots more babies this year.  And lots of them are laughing.

And more people are into chestnuts this year.  Maybe because chestnuts are so good tasting and so good for you?  A complete protein (you can live on them…cooked or raw), they are low in fat.  And alkaline.

This year, when someone asks for a sample, I say that it will cost them a quarter or a good joke (i.e. “chicken crossing the road jokes” do not count!).  It’s been fun.  It also been interesting to see how many people do not know a good joke – unbelievable!

The other day a small boy, maybe 6, who has been coming to the stand since he was a baby, doesn’t want a sample, he wants a large bag of chestnuts, but he wants to tell me his favorite joke.  Which is funny.

Then he says, “So who gets the money?”  It’s me.  Because I am the only one there.  My husband is someplace else.  He gives me the money, I give him the chestnuts, and then he says, “You know, I can’t tell you how shocked I was to find out you are the Chestnut Man’s wife!”.  We all cracked up and laughed and laughed.  I can’t tell you why that was so funny, but it felt so good.

And that is what makes this season special…there is so much of everything, including love and laughter.

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!




Sadhvi shares being Grateful

Sadhvi the Roasted Chestnut Vendor!
I got a lot of emails, wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday.  Facebook postings from friends were abundant.  It was nice.
Being far away from family AND chestnut roasters to boot, Thanksgiving is always a very busy day after a week of being busy selling  “Freshly Roasted Italian Chestnuts” outside of the health food store here in town.
After chilling out for an hour or so after coming home, we ate a simple meal of  homemade Quiche Lorraine (I always make a few extra pie crusts and freeze them, so that on busy days I can take one out before I leave the house and it’s good when I get home) with salad and greens from the garden.  It was so good to relax, knowing that we have a day off today, and that we could sleep in too.  No Black Friday for us.
I read everyone’s little share about being thankful at this special time of year, but here’s the one that got to me.  It’s all about opening our eyes…I found it beautiful.  Thanks Daniela for sending it!


Easy Swiss Chestnut Soup Recipe!



Sadhvi’s Swiss Chestnut Soup!

What you will need: 

A pressure cooker, or pan with a tight fitting lid

A pound or so of peeled roasted chestnuts

Some oil, ghee or butter

An onion, chopped

Some water and some white wine

Some salt

What you do with these things:

 Sauté & brown the onion in the bottom of the pan or pressure cooker

(which I like to use)

Splash with white wine or water.

Add quartered chestnuts. Stir.

Cook with lid tight. Bring to boil.

(if you use a pressure cooker, you know what to do!)

Cool it down and puree with hand blender.

Add a bit of cream or half and half, without any growth hormones, of course!.

Add homemade croutons and some grated Swiss cheese.

Open a bottle of nice red wine.

Serve with good salami, salad, some nice music.

Seriously, you will feel soooo good after this simple meal…try it!

Fresh Chestnuts!

Sadhvi Sez…it’s Chestnut Time!

Sadhvi the Roasted Chestnut Vendor!
Sadhvi the Roasted Chestnut Vendor!

I am going to help my husband roast chestnuts today.  It will be my first time roasting this season and I am happy just thinking about it.  Besides the fact that being a street vendor is my most favorite thing to do, I am looking forward to my first bunch of freshly roasted Italian chestnuts! 

I don’t remember having or eating roasted chestnuts growing up in Cleveland, but I vaguely remember someone roasting them downtown.  When I moved to Basel, Switzerland, there seemed to be a stand on every corner and at every train station.  As long as I have known my husband, he has been part of this tradition.  One year, I asked him if he could teach me to vend too…I thought it would take a couple of days, and I would have it down.  Well, it took me nearly the whole first month, and when he left me on my own that first time, I cried and begged him not to, I just wasn’t ready!  He laughed, and said I would be fine, and he was right.  That first year at the train station in our village, I remember that I felt so vulnerable though, that I made a tape of my favorite Mozart songs to comfort me at the stand.  Mozart is great for feeling protected! 

Now chestnuts are part of my life here in Asheville, and I wanted to share some info about them.  First off, chestnuts are gluten-free, which means that everyone can enjoy them.  They are not nuts, but are a complete protein, which means you can live on them. 

Italian Chestnuts!
Italian Chestnuts!
       100 grams contains the following:
  •  protein: 12 grams
  •  fat: 3 g
  •  carbohydrates: 85 g
  •  calories: 200
  •  calcium: 36 mg
  •  beta-carotene: 168 mg
  •  vitamin C: 65 mg
  •  vitamin B1: 0.29 mg
  •  potassium: 707 mg
  •  magnesium: 1.3 g
  •  iron: 45 mg
  •  copper: 0.23 mg
  •  phosphorous: 87 mg

The next post is going to be one of my most favorite recipes for chestnuts….a very easy soup that anyone can make…until then, buy some chestnuts and store them in the lower compartment in your fridge.  Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to get them…there is only one harvest and they are their freshest and best NOW!