Skip to content
Chataigne and Marrons: The Unique Differences between Chestnuts

Chataigne and Marrons: The Unique Differences between Chestnuts

Chestnuts are thought to be limited to one kind - one edible variety of chestnuts. Quite confusingly, there are two words that mean the same thing in French: marron and châtaigne. In this post, we will explain the complex differences.

What Are Popular Chestnuts We Often See?

Chestnut trees are among the world's most popular nut-producing trees. In certain regions of the world, the chestnut tree is called the bread tree because its nuts are low in fat and have less fat than other nuts. Fresh chestnuts also contain twice as much starch as a potato.

Chestnut species that are edible include...

  • American chestnut
  • Chinese chestnut
  • Japanese chestnut
  • European chestnut
  • Chinquapin.

People should be aware that horse chestnut is sometimes used to refer to an unrelated species of tree in the Aesculus genus, also widely known as buckeyes. As an ornamental tree, the Aesculus genus produces toxic inedible nuts and are occasionally misrepresented as edible in the United States. Chestnuts from the genus Castanea are edible.

French cuisine is known for delectable desserts containing chestnuts as the main ingredient. There are an array of cakes, candies, and tarts available during the holidays with this trademark flavor.


Difference Between Châtaigne and Marron

Christmas is a time when we eat holiday foods with chestnuts. Chestnut cream is available the rest of the year, as are hot chestnuts, and even candied chestnuts. The French have two terms referring to Chestnuts, which within the culinary arts, can be tricky.

Châtaigne and Marron both mean "chestnut." Whenever nutmeat is contained within one brown hull/husk, it is referred to as marron (edible, or comestible).

In a châtaigne, the husk/hull contains nutmeat divided into two lobes by a thin layer of skin.

Done through cultivation, these terms simplify the differences between wild chestnuts and modified chestnuts. Simply put: if your chestnut hull has only one nut fruit inside, it's a marron. If there is more than one, it's a châtaigne.

Products with Châtaigne and Marron

Bonne Maman French Chestnut Jam contains Châtaigne. This chestnut-based jam is prepared by cooking chestnuts and sugar with vanilla until thick and smooth. Made in France, Bonne Maman Chestnut Jam is-

  • Non-GMO
  • No artificial color, high fructose corn syrup, or preservatives added

Aubenas Chestnut Cream (Creme de Marrons), with its soft texture and fresh chestnuts and vanilla pods, make it perfect for spreading. Made with only fresh, not frozen chestnuts. Crafted using only the best largest Sweet chestnuts with only one chestnut inside the hull rather than two.

Both are the same in very similar terms, but oh so different, as different types of chestnut are used in the recipes. That is because Marrons tend to react in different ways than Châtaigne in the cooking process.



Sold out

Aubenas Chestnut Cream (Creme de Marrons) by Imbert - myPanier
Sold out
Previous article What Makes European Chocolate So Special?
Next article   Holiday Charcuterie Board Necessities


Stephane Brouard - November 1, 2023

From the botanist’s point of view, the chestnut is the fruit of the chestnut tree (Castanea sativa), a tree of the same family as the oaks and beeches, the Fagaceae. The horse chestnut is the seed of the only existing chestnut tree in France (Aesculus hippocastanum), these magnificent trees that adorn public gardens, parks, alleys and schoolyards.

Monique Lemaire - December 30, 2022

Love Chesnuts

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields