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How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea.
–Zorba the Greek

Foodstuff: Chestnuts

Etymology: From chesten (Old English) to chesten nut (Middle English)

Area of Origin: Asia Minor, modern day Turkey

We may be able to eat strawberries and asparagus in December, but they will always be a pale shadow of their spring and summertime selves. Thankfully, eating seasonally doesn’t have to be about deprivation — instead, savor the winter delicacies that are not only at their peak, but are also perfectly suited to cold weather, hearty appetites and holiday leisure.

Tightly encased in layers of thorns and shiny, hard shells, chestnuts do not make for instant satisfaction; but the reward is well worth the effort. After all, chestnuts are not only a delicious foodstuff, they are an activity unto themselves. What could be more decadent than an afternoon spent lingering in front of the fire, drinking a bottle of fruity red wine, peeling and nibbling a bowl of chestnuts fresh from the oven?

Whether you dream of a Dickensian Christmas, or an Italian autumn festival, chestnuts are the stuff of cold-weather fantasies and ruminations.

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Mulling Things Over

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The soothing fragrance of cinnamon and its mulling companions is the perfect match for red wine — and holidays.

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The nutty perfume of chestnuts perfectly complements this moist, dense cake.

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