Earlier this week, I stood in line at one of the markets anxiously watching Washington Parish farmer Joe Dobie weigh ten pounds of fresh chestnuts for a group of shoppers. Thinking these shoppers were chefs, I followed them to learn what on earth they could be doing with so many chestnuts.
Up North, chestnuts are synonymous with winter. So, down here it seems odd to find them. Yet, I have learned that despite tree blight and the march of history, old chestnut trees remain. For centuries, peasants have made flour and beer from chestnuts. But for me, I simply score, roast, peel and eat them.
But, if you want others to do the work for you, consider this. That group of shoppers works for La Divina. They were purchasing chestnuts to make gelato di castagna: chestnut ice cream.