Cost: 40 yen
Found At: Mini Stop
If it were not for the Christmas song, I would have no idea that chestnuts were edible. In fact, before coming to Asia, I just assumed that eating them was a weird, archaic practice – like the Jomon era peoples eating acorns. It’s the kind of thing that Townsends might do a youtube special on and you would think: “Wow, what a quaint, old-timey thing!”
But here, it’s actually an autumn specialty food. The moment that the weather begins to cool, you can find chestnut sweets, chestnut rice, bricks of red bean paste with chestnuts, and yes, roasted chestnuts. All of these are pretty tasty, but on the whole, the chestnut is not really one of those flavors that I feel like I’ve “missed out” on. This chocolate is a good example. It’s nutty and mealy and easy to eat, but it pales in comparison to peanut chocolate or hazelnut chocolate or macadamia chocolate. Maybe it’s just a difference of association. To me, peanuts and hazelnuts and macadamia nuts and cashews and pecans and walnuts all have a personal connection, and many happy memories to pair with the flavor. But chestnuts don’t – I never ate them when I was young and, unlike Japanese people, I have no special association between them and long, cool autumn nights. So, I think they’re just OK.
But I suppose that my time in Japan offers me an opportunity to change that.
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