Chestnuts – the very mention of them takes me back to London, one cold winter evening before Christmas. The delicious toastiness of the smell of chestnuts being roasted on roadside braziers gave festive warmth to the icy air.
I missed out on eating chestnuts in London, but tonight we are going to experience them, having picked them fresh today at Jackie and Godfrey’s Chestnut Farm in Gordonton. Roasted, barbecued, boiled – there are plenty of ways cooking chestnuts and we’ll try them all to see what works best for us.
On our arrival, Jackie and Godrey gave us all the chestnut tips we needed – how to work out what to pick and how best to deal with the chestnuts when we got them home. Dealing with the chestnuts while they fresh and freezing them in small batches before they become discoloured are two messages we picked up loud and clear.
We ended up with heaps more chestnuts than we intended. Picking them turned out to be a most joyful, satisfying and compulsive activity:“Ooh – here are some big ones.” “We’ve got enough now.” “Look at what’s under THIS tree!” and so on until our bucket was nearly full.
It’s right on the end of season now, but there are still a few more days when this family friendly activity can take place. Parking at the Chestnut Farm is easy and the welcome is warm. Take outdoor shoes or gumboots and tough gardening gloves for handling the spiky outside of the nuts.
Look out for the Waikato Times on Saturday 22 April where Denise Irvine will report on her trip to the Chestnut Farm and publish some of Jackie’s ideas for the variety of tasty dishes that can be made with chestnuts.
I can’t wait until Saturday’s newspaper article. Right now it’s time to fire up the barbecue and see if we can recreate the toasty pre-Christmas London street smell.
The Chestnut Farm, 1233B Gordonton Road, Taupiri, www.chestnutfarm.co.nz