Malta
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Roasted chestnuts in Rome

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One of my favorite things about being in Italy in the fall and winter is the chestnut vendors.  On almost every corner some guy (it's almost always a man) sets up a barrel, lights and fire and roasts chestnuts on a pan.

I'm not a huge fan of the chestnuts themselves (although Karen loves them so we always get a bag).  They're a bit dry for me and it takes quite a bit of wine to wash them down.

But, the spectacle of the chestnut roasting is what I like.  The stirring and shaking of the pan until the shells are forced open by the steam inside.  Scooping them into the paper funnel (look at how artistically arranged the paper cups are arranged in the picture above.  It's like a flower arrangement!).  Burning your fingers and dropping the first chestnut back in the bag because it is too hot.  It's a lovely ceremony.