It’s Chestnut Season Again!

One of the undeniable signs that fall has arrived in Basel is the appearance of the chestnut vendors in the streets, replacing the ice cream carts that have been there all summer (in fact, they are often the same vendors). With the cooler fall temperatures, the “Heissi Marroni” (hot chestnuts) are a wonderful way to warm your hands, in addition to being a healthy snack. You can buy them from any vendor as prices are usually rather uniform throughout town.

You can also buy raw chestnuts at the grocery store and roast them yourself. Simply cut a cross through the outer shell at the tip of the chestnuts, all the way down to the soft edible part. Then place them on a cookie sheet and roast them in the oven at 200oC for 20-25 minutes. When the shells get darker and open widely at the cuts, take them out of the oven; they should be easy to peel at this point.

Be aware, though, that you can only eat the special chestnuts sold at the store. The so-called conkers or horse chestnuts that you find throughout Basel’s parks are not edible for humans! However, they make great winter feed for deer, elk, donkey, wild boar, and other wild animals. So if your kids love to collect bags full of chestnuts, you can always take them to the Lange Erlen Tierpark and drop them in the collection box just on the right side of the kiosk.