Have You Met Luciano?

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read the full disclosure policy here.

Ottawa, Canada

Although I’ve been to Ottawa a few times I had no idea it had such a thriving Italian population. On our tour with C’est Bon Cooking I met Luciano.

He recently started selling sweet roasted Italian chestnuts  just outside La Bottega Nicastro in Byward Market

Chestnuts can be found in most European cities but I have never seen it in Canada.

Luciano immigrated from Italy in 1966 and was retired until he went to Milan for a tourism conference and saw someone roasting chestnuts in a fornella, a small oven on a cart fired by lump hardwood charcoal.

He took photos of it and had the same type of cart made here.


roasting chestnuts

The real attraction here is speaking with Luciano, he knows all there is to know about chestnuts and shares that they were called the meat of the poor and that it is an Italian tradition to make a wish when you peel the shell.

You can buy roasted chestnuts at $5 for about a dozen or 25 cents for a sample.

Luciano says he doesn’t want to encourage people to drink but he recommends eating the chestnuts with some aged cheddar and nice red wine and I cannot disagree with that.



Disclosure: I was a guest of the Ottawa Tourism Board but they did not request I write a favourable review or refuse to tell anyone what my wish was – because then it wouldn’t come true!

Join the Conversation

  1. Regina @ aNomad'sDream says:

    He looks so very sweet roasting the chestnuts. What a great thing to bring to Canada. I remember chestnuts from Germany as a child but I didn’t like them then.
    Now I just had some roasted chestnuts here in Thailand and just couldn’t get enough. Funny enough, I had them with a red wine sparkler on New Year’s Eve 😀

  2. Lauren, Ephemerratic says:

    I associate roasted chestnuts with travel, since during travels is when I first had them (in Istanbul). Since that first time, I’ve found them seemingly all over — Italy, China, and finally at home in San Francisco.


  3. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    What smells better than roasted chestnuts?

  4. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Luciano is still out there roasting his nut. I saw him the other day.

  5. I’ve never seen roasted chestnuts in Canada either!! I’m afraid I’m not a big fan of them, but I still love seeing the vendors. 🙂

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    I have never had roasted chestnuts. I must correct that, and I would gladly pair them (or anything) with red wine and aged cheddar.

  7. Kristin Addis says:

    Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… always did wonder what they might taste like.

  8. Lauren @ roamingtheworld says:

    I know Winter was upon us in my city of VItoria- Gasteiz when the chestnut roasters started roasting. Yum.

  9. dating sites says:

    He looks so very sweet roasting the chestnuts. What a great thing to bring to Canada. I remember chestnuts from Germany as a child but I didn’t like them then.

  10. The smell of roasting chestnuts is so Christmasy for me. I love walking past the stands that are roasting those on a cold winter night, buying a bag and having them with some hot cider or mulled wine.

Comments are closed.

© Copyright 2021. Bacon Is Magic. All rights reserved