One Italian tradition that my brother and I enjoy year-round is our love of chestnuts. We like to roast them over an open flame and come up with every excuse in the book to have a bonfire. If it's been snowing, he even has been known to snowblow a path to his outdoor "kitchen" and shovel out some standing room for his guests!
For those of you who have always been curious about chestnuts, cooking them is actually very easy.
First, you must score your chestnuts to allow steam to escape. Basically, take a sharp knife and cut an "X" on the flat side of your chestnut.
Then, place them in a pan that has had holes drilled through it so the heat can penetrate and cook evenly (we made ours on our own, but I am sure you can buy them premade- God bless the internet!)
Get your fire raging....
Or you can use a brick oven like my bro's (he made his himself!). You can also do this stovetop with the same pan, just keep them moving and hang out stoveside so they don't burn!
Now, have some rum punch while you wait....
And enjoy some good company while they cook! Keep stirring them- you don't want them to burn!