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I do freely admit that the connection to anything Dominican is just that I miss chestnuts.


Marrons Glacés

Posted on October 7, 2019 by meemselle

Yes. You read it correctly.

Marrons Glacés.

Because, Gentle Readers, there is something wrong with me.

While I fully embrace This Dusty Whore Town I Call Home in the 2.5 World, there is still a part of the Meemish soul that longs for something more….familiar? Which here means, exotic?

In one of my last major food hauls from the US, I snagged two, count ‘em, two bags of already peeled chestnuts. So, what else do I do? I make homemade Marrons Glacés. It took a week. Lots of resting, to soak in the sugar syrup. I tasted the broken ones. In a Few Words: pretty effin’ good.

Now, in all fairness, I should note that chestnuts (castañas, I think is the best equivalent) do show up in Playero around American Thanksgiving. The ones in those gorgeous, glossy shells that are for lack of a better description, chestnut-colored.

The quality tends to be iffy, and they are pretty expensive.

But for anybody who spent any time at 291 Main Street, the night before Thanksgiving, you knew you were going to get enlisted to Help Peel the Chestnuts. Regina L. brooked no favorites on this. She’d score the shells, and put them in a very hot oven, while we all lollygagged around (probably high on one thing or another), being entertaining. Or so we thought. She seemed to think so. Or maybe she just figured it was a highly acquiescent labor source.

And then they’d come out of the oven, at about 150F, and you had to peel them. Fast. Because if you didn’t, the shells would do this dastardly thing of not peeling easily. So then Regina L. would just heat them up again, so you’d have to do it again.

I personally think it was her way of controlling what we ate the next day, because if your fingertips are burnt, you can’t shovel in as much food.

And we’d take the shells and put them in the fireplace. Which smelled divine.

But, Darlinos, that is not the life I currently have. First of all, no Regina L., OBM. No crowds of semi-high friends. In fact, no turkey that I can stuff with bread/sage/chestnut stuffing. Chabad does not do turkey.

So, what’s a redhead to do? One craves chestnuts.

So of course, one makes Marrons Glacés.

I also figure it’s a perfect treat for this holiday season, where one eats sweet foods, in order to secure a sweet New Year. Apples dipped in honey, challah with raisins, Silvia’s apple strudel….

Marrons Glacés take me back to the first trip to Rome with Beloved Son. We had had dinner in Campo de’Fiori, which was so close to the convent where we stayed (for cheapo cheapo; link at end) and there was this gelateria/confetteria. Beloved Son fell in a swoon at the types of gelato and chocolate. I myself zeroed in on the Marrons Glacés. HUUUUUGE chestnuts, gleaming golden with sugar syrup and all kinds of Italian witchiness.

NOTE: I do not have a sweet tooth. My taste goes more to a nice, round, red wine in vast quantities, thankewverramuch.

So Beloved Son & I started hitting that place for Marrons Glacés twice a day. I said, “Little One. This has to stop.” And he was like, “I know. But….”

With our trousers digging into the massively increased midriff flesh, we visited on our last night. There was a gaggle of Americans behind us. Must have been from the midwest. Very leggy blond girls and sort of WASP-y professorial parents. They must have wandered in, bc this is not a place that’s in the guidebooks. They heard us speaking English, and glommed onto us like barnacles. At that time, I still had fairly functional Italian. We chatted about Rome and the US and then it’s our turn to order, and so got two espressos, one gelato, and two Marrons Glacés. And one of the little blond bitches says: “Eeeeeewww. What’s that?”

And Beloved Son, who was all of 15, said: “Marrons Glacés. Want a bite?”

I love that kid.