Then, in 2002, I was living in Spain in a seaside city, and the few weeks leading up to Christmas, little street carts started popping up, selling roasted chestnuts wrapped up in newspaper. The smell was intoxicating, and after passing it up for a couple of days on my walk home from class, I finally caved.
They were smoky, dense and starchy like a potato, and the best snack around 5 p.m. (since my Spanish host family didn't eat dinner until 10 o'clock every night) to hold over my not-used-to-that-kind-of-schedule American stomach.
Fast-forward a few years, and I finally found real chestnuts for sale in the grocery store near me. Of course I had to pick some up, and ever since, I've made it a point to roast them a few times each season, if for nothing else than to remember how awesome it was to be 20 years old, living in Spain, walking through a city decorated in white Christmas lights, with nothing more to worry about in life than the stupid paper I had to write for class.
There's nothing more to roasting chestnuts than throwing them into the oven for about half an hour, but if you want to go to town with different flavors, then these three spicy, savory and sweet options are delicious places to start.
Toss chestnuts into different spice combinations to get simple and festive winter snacks.
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes
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