Chestnut Products

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Marrons glacés, chestnuts candied in sugar syrup, are decidedly bonbons de luxe. See candied fruit. Said to have originated in the time of Louis XIV, they were probably known in Piedmont as early as 1450 and were once a “must” at any high-class wedding.

In 1882 Clément Faugier in the Ardéche invented the invaluable crème de marrons using broken pieces of marrons glacés; this spread can still be obtained in tins and tubes and is ideal for cooking desserts and sweets. While commercially made crème de marrons is light and delicate, manufactured chestnut products can vary considerably in quality. Purée de marrons in a tin is often dull, and tinned chestnuts are usually tasteless. Vacuum-packed chestnuts can be very good for use in savory dishes, whereas dried chestnuts are mainly used for puréed soup or polenta or ground into flour. However, fresh chestnuts are always best.