My friend gave me this recipe several years ago, when our families attended a 4th of July picnic together. I have made it many times since then, and it's always a favorite whenever I make it. The recipe makes quite a bit, so it's one of my favorite dishes to take to potlucks, picnics and other gatherings with large crowds. The recipe would fit a lot of party themes, as the ingredients represent various continental cuisines, from the Asian inspired chestnuts to the Brazilian cashews. But it is the smokey Dutch-influenced gouda cheese that adds a wonderful Mediterranean flair to this great picnic salad. Cooking time does not including chilling time (as that can vary greatly).