I have peeled plenty of chestnuts in my life, but luckily they were always already out of their prickly coat by the time they made it to the restaurant where I was working. In fact, I didn’t even recognize them when I saw them in their natural state, and had to ask what the spiky specimens were.
“Çe sont des châtaignes,” said the grumpy girl at the greengrocer.
They’re popping up other places, too, namely in the vitrine of Patrick Roger:
You can always count on a seeing something astounding in the windows of this master chocolatier. Last month, to kick off La Rentrée there were giant chocolate colored pencils piled on display like pick-up sticks. A small set, entirely edible, could be yours to eat give to your favorite student for 44 euros.
Now Roger’s shelves are lined with stacks of these fantastical, edible green sculptures. I think they look extraterrestrial, like some kind of cartoon alien’s eyeball, and I keep waiting for one of them to blink. These chestnuts, far easier to peel and eat than the real thing, are molded from almond paste and chocolate with a griotte center. It’s not the kind of pure chocolate experience you might be going to Roger for, but I am a sucker for anything almond and cherry.
And anyway: What fun!
Patrick Roger 108 bld St-Germain 75006 Paris, +33 (0)143 29 38 42, and 3 other locations around Paris. Website