Where to collect chestnuts and chestnut flour: tradition and recipes

A beautiful and tasty fruit from the woods of the Emilian Apennines, the chestnut ha been part of the culinary tradition of this area for centuries. Today it is also the ultimate goal of trips, picnics and walks in the beautiful woods surrounding our Inn. The most common varieties in our area are the Biancherina, the Carrarese, the Ceppa, the Loiola, the Mascherina, the Molana, the Pastinese, the Pistolese, the Rossola and chestnut Salvano, which are part of the agricultural genetic resources of our territory.

Chestnut collection begins with the first days of October and continues until the middle of November. It is an enjoyable and fun activity, that allows you to spend a day surrounded by nature admiring the stunning colors of the italian autumn involving children and pets in a perfect activity for families! Once collected, the chestnut has many and varied uses in the culinary field, which allow us to appreciate it and present it in several dishes and recipes.

Le-due-querce-metatoTypical of our area is chestnut flour, traditionally made using a special dryer for chestnuts called “metato” or “m’tot” in dialect. The metato is a kind of small stone or brick house of about 10-20 square meters consisting of two floors, separated by a trellis of wooden slats. In the lower floor of metato you would find a weak fire burning for 30/45 days and allowing the chestnuts desiccation. The fruits are placed on the top floor on the trellis to create a layer of 40-80 cm and are turned over a couple of times during the drying period.

The dried chestnuts are then separated from the skin and pressed to get the typical chestnut flour which is perfect for many recipes. In particular, our Locanda Le Due Querce offer guests several seasonal dishes made to perfection with local chestnuts and chestnut flour, that will tantalize your palate and inspire the chef in you!

Here are some recipes with chestnuts you can taste in our restaurant and you can try at home:

The castagnaccio
Loved by locals and visitors, the castagnaccio is a regional recipe that manages to bring out the best flavor of chestnut. In addition, it is a rather simple recipe, with a reduced number of ingredients and very little fat, really delicious!

What to buy:Le-due-querce-castagne
– 500 grams of chestnut flour
– 250 ml of milk
– 300 ml of water
– 100 grams of pine nuts
– 70 grams of raisins
– A sprig of rosemary
– Olive oil and salt

Preparation:
Pour the flour and chestnut, with the aid of a whisk to avoid lumps, mix it with water and milk. Then add a pinch of salt, pine nuts and raisins.
Pour the dough into a large greased baking pan with oil and decorated the surface with pine nuts, raisins and rosemary needles.
Before baking pour in a few tablespoons of oil, then put the chestnut cake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes … You just have to serve and enjoy!

 

If you are feeling more creative you can opt for the guinea fowl with chestnuts, a dish mistakenly associated with Christmas, which is however very good and perfect for any occasion or for great lunches and family dinners. Compared to the traditional recipe of the guinea fowl, the chestnut stuffing is obtained by crushing the cooked chestnuts with a sausage, salt and pepper. Once stuffed the guinea fowl simply cover it with tasty slices of bacon and bake: a guaranteed success!

 

Do you want to propose the chestnuts harvested in our forests in a delicious appetizer? Try the bacon and chestnuts sandwiches! Finely chop the boiled chestnuts and clean: roll out a line of creamy cheese on sandwiches, place on each canapé a tuft of bacon and then put in the middle one teaspoon of chestnuts. Decorate with a sprig of thyme and voilà… the appetizer is served!

 

[Sources: Parks.it, Ambiente.Regione.Emilia-romagna.it, Wikipedia.org]