“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” has become a popular notion of Christmas ever since Tormé and Wells wrote their Christmas Song, made famous by Nat King Cole‘s recording in 1946. The chestnut has seen a decline in use over the centuries in Europe, having been brand-marked as ‘food for poor people’. But almost all across the continent (likewise in North America) it now also sees a revival in popularity in Winter time, especially around Christmas. Global chestnut production has constantly been rising, growing from almost 650,000 tons in 1993 to over 2 million tons in 2013 according to FAOSTAT figures. And while the chestnuts roasting on an open fire have their origin in the United States, chestnuts consumed there have often traveled a long way. Although growing conditions are ideal, the USA have no significant chestnut industry and account for less than 1% of the global chestnut production. This is different in Europe where commercial chestnut farming takes place in the Mediterranean, which, however, is challenged by the now top chestnut producer China. China now produced almost 85% of the world’s chestnuts.
The following gridded cartogram is a visualisation of the areas in the world where chestnuts are grown. Using data produced by EarthStat the map shows each grid cell resized according to the total amount of chestnuts produced in that area:
Rather than transforming countries as a whole, the grid provides more detailed insights into where the main production areas are within a country. The colours related to the Worldmapper colour scheme in which each country has a unique colour, while major regions are using one hue.
As seen in the map, following China major producers of chestnuts are Turkey (around 60,000 tons in 2013 according to FAOSTAT), Italy (57,000 tons), South Korea (56,000 tons), Bolivia (54,000 tons), Greece (22,000 tons), Japan (19,000 tons), Portugal (18,000 tons), North Korea (11,000 tons), and Spain (10,000 tons).