I saw chestnuts being sold at T&T Supermarket and decided to try them out. There was a large write up on them posted nearby which told of a Toronto guy who was importing these from China, aging them so that they turned largely to sugar and then roasted them fresh daily. The name of the company was Tin Tin.
Not knowing much about chestnuts, except when they came in a MontBlanc, I figured it was worth the experience for a few buck's investment.
Much to my surprise, when I got them home I found them to be quite leathery in the shell. If this shell was pierced (there was a description of a Japanese chestnut-shelling tool in the article, but unfortunately T&T didn't sell them) one could squeeze the shell and extract the nut. Most of the time it would also come free of the papery inner covering also.
It really didn't seem to be worth the fuss, however, as they were very bland and too sweet. Far too much of a carb hit! Sasha the cat found a use for them first, fishing them out of the bag and chasing them around until she fancied a new one...but I persevered and finally made something nice out of them.
Chestnut Chocolate Rum Patee
I shelled the ones the cat didn't get and boiled them up with a little milk, vanilla, a pinch of salt and a glug of dark rum and a glug of honey. Then I turned off the heat, covered them and went to Pilates.
When I returned I threw them in a food processor with a few nubs of dark chocolate, more rum, sour cream and pureed them until I found a flavour and consistency I liked.