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Chestnut festivals in Italy

Published: 29/07/2019 By The Abode Team

October is the month of the chestnut harvest and there are chestnut festivals all over Italy, with small taverns serving excellent homecooked food completely focused on the creative and original use of chestnuts. My favourite chestnut festival is the one that takes place in Preggio (Umbria).

Local residents open up their houses and cook a selection of local dishes, which are served on the streets to hungry residents and visitors. These meals go down a treat with a glass of Novello wine (new wine).

All the basement rooms of the old houses of the village open up as tiny restaurants, featuring varied menus that include roasted chestnuts and dishes made with chestnuts. Local artisans display their crafts.

Castagnaccio is a traditional chesnut cake which is absolutely delicious and simple. It is a typical cake to see in the bakeries in October.

Here is a simple recipe for Castagnaccio all Toscana:

Ingredients:

500g of Chesnut flour
100g of Pine Nuts
80g Raisins
40g Extra virgin olive oil
5g salt
650g Water
One branch of Rosemary

Method:

To prepare the Tuscan chestnut, first wash the raisins under running fresh water and then soak them for 10 minutes in a bowl with cold water to rehydrate. With a knife, roughly chop the walnuts of the nuts and then peel the fresh rosemary.

Sift the chestnut flour into a large bowl and add the 650 g of water little by little, mixing with a hand whisk; when you have obtained a smooth and homogeneous mixture, add the chopped walnuts and whole pine nuts, taking care to keep aside a small quantity that you will need later to sprinkle the surface of the chestnut before putting it in the oven.

After 10 minutes, squeeze and dry the raisins, then add it to the dough, always advancing a small amount; mix well and finally add the salt.

At this point, oil a low round cake pan with a diameter of 32 cm and pour the dough by leveling it with the help of a spatula. Sprinkle the surface of the chestnut with the pine nuts, walnuts and raisins that you have kept aside, distributing them evenly.

Finally add also the rosemary needles 13, the oil 14 and let it cook in a static preheated oven at 195 ° for about 35 minutes. When a crust has formed on the surface with cracks and the dried fruit has taken on a beautiful golden color, take it out of the oven and let it cool; Enjoy your traditional, Tuscan, chesnut cake.