Marroni – One of the Top Winter Foods in Switzerland
What are your favourite Swiss Winter Foods? Fondue, Raclette or maybe hot chestnuts or “Marroni” as they are known here? From the beginning of October you begin to see the colourful little Marroni huts and stalls popping up all over Switzerland.
With their large pans roasting fresh chestnuts over charcoal, the toasty scent draws you in and before you know it, you’re holding a paper bag full of hot, toasty delights. Not only do they provide warmth for cold hands, but roast chestnuts evoke memories of winters past and are a very popular tradition, not just in Switzerland but in so many other countries in the world.
As you walk down Bahnhofstrasse or in the many little corner of Zurich, the waft of charcoal in the wind is at the same time reassuring and tempting. These little delicacies used to be known in Ticino as the “bread of the poor”, as until the Middle Ages, the chestnut was a staple food, used in both sweet and savoury dishes. They even ground it to make flour to use in recipes. However, at Zurich prices for “Heisse Marroni” that saying may no longer ring true!
If you’re a real chestnut afficianado you should make sure to visit the on the chestnut forests in Ticino, where you can hunt your own chestnuts. However, you will also find them in the supermarkets and at farmer’s markets too.
It’s very easy to roast them at home too in the oven at home. Just make sure to split them down the middle and to keep turning them do they don’t burn.
As well as eating them roasted, they are a popular ingredient in many Swiss winter dishes. In fact, in Switzerland they are also very popular in desserts too. One such dessert is is “Vemicelles” where they are pureed and served with meringues and cream. You can read more about it here.
In Corona-free time there are also a number of Chestnut festivals in Ascona and other towns in Switzerland, so hopefully by the beginning of Autumn this year they will be taking place again.
At least even in these Covid times they are one treat we can still enjoy as they are classified as “take away”. The Marroni season only lasts until the end of March so do enjoy them whilst you can!
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