About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

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Chestnuts Boiled in red Wine, Romagna Style


Back around Christmas when the chestnuts from Italy poured into the markets I picked up a pound of them so that I could make this dessert. Marcella writes about how she would nibble on these wine-stewed chestnuts while sitting next to the fireplace as a young university student in Bologna. You can picture her sitting there, likely in a 700 year old building, freezing in the depths of winter, being warmed from the heat of the fire, the glow from the wine, and the cooked chestnuts . . . sharing laughter, gossip, and intellectual debates with her friends.

She writes that her father warned her that the chestnuts and the wine had a way of making one tipsy - although she never could determine if it was the wine-stewed chestnuts or the flask of wine she'd have alongside the chestnuts that did it. She advises you, with her usual humour, to try plenty of both to determine for yourself which makes you feel lightheaded.

The most complex part of this recipe is slashing the chestnuts - and I must say from the get go that I didn't do it right. You can see clearly from the photo above that some were cut far too deeply - the cut slashing into the flesh of the chestnut. Unfortunately I've had a bad experience with exploding chestnuts in that past when I didn't cut DEEPLY enough that I err on the side of caution.

Once prepped, the chestnuts are boiled in red wine for 30 minutes to an hour with 2 bay leaves and some salt.

I brought the chestnuts to the table in a warm dish and we peeled and enjoyed the heat from the nuts and the wine.

I confess that I really enjoyed them although I didn't really think of them as a dessert - as a warming snack - YES as a dessert, not so much. Happily I had something sweet to serve alongside.

That being said, next time the chestnuts are in the market pick some up, gather around some close friends, and serve these up. Light heads, laughter, intellectual debates, and red finger tips will result. The warm glow from the wine (or the chestnuts . . . who knows?) and the companionship will warm your heart and soul.

Comments (2)

Jerry what a wonderful post. It makes me long for winter to return.

Marcella Hazan:

Forget desserts, Jerry, this is about companionship, for two or for a crowd. I wouldn't want to prep chestnuts for a crowd, however! Did I mention that the ideal wine is a sweet red wine from Romagna called Cagnina?

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