Philly Has Chestnuts Roasting

Even if Jack Frost ain't exactly nipping at your nose.

It’s a little warm out for an open fire, but for many Christmas time means the sweet flavor of chestnuts, be they roasted, pureed, or folded into something sweet. Unfortunately, for those who love them, they can be difficult to find stateside. Here are a few spots around town where you can find their incomparable flavor, Jack Frost nipping or no.

Chestnut Porcini Soup at Bistrot La Minette – A Christmas meal at Bistrot La Minette is pure celebration, from oysters at the beginning to the finale of pistachio bûche de Noël filled with chocolate buttercream. The second course of their December tasting menu, available through the 30th ($65 per person, $100 for dinner with wine pairings) is a velouté–a velvety soup of chestnuts pureed with porcini. The whole affair is topped with parsley oil and foie gras buttons.

Mixed Nut Tart at Metropolitan Bakery – Simultaneously sweet and savory, chestnuts join the mix of other nuts in Metropolitan’s mixed nut tart with honey and rosemary. Though they’ve just closed their Chestnut Hill location, you’ll find them going strong in University City, Rittenhouse Square and at Reading Terminal.

Mini Chestnut Mont Blanc at Zama – Wind down a light, colorful meal of sushi at Zama with a mini chestnut mont blanc. In this classic dessert, chestnut puree is forced through a piping bag over cake or pastry cream, and then topped with whipped cream. Though it’s name is meant to invoke a snow capped mountain, the end result looks more like a delicate heap of chestnut spaghetti. Zama’s is an individual sized portion that pairs chestnuts with chocolate truffle.

Grilled Chestnuts at The Rittenhouse Hotel – For snacking during Rittenhouse Square holiday strolling, or for a seasonal carbohydrate hit to fuel your last-minute holiday shopping, stop for some grilled chestnuts. They’re available on the front drive of the Rittenhouse Hotel from 3:00 until 5:00pm, prime sunset hours, through New Years Eve.

Jarred Chestnuts at The Head Nut – If you prefer to be the Mayor [chest] Nutter of your chestnut cookery, whether for stuffing or sweets applications, stop by The Head Nut either at Reading Terminal Market or in Haverford. Both shops have already peeled, jarred chestnuts ready to go.