(Ita-Eng) Castagne ricche di storia e gusto / Chestnut with history and taste


Le castagne sono economiche, abbondanti, ad alta digeribilità, possono essere essiccate e conservate e la Garfagnana possiede una conformazione territoriale che da sempre favorisce la crescita del castagno, l'unico albero da frutto ad avere sfamato e nutrito nei secoli le popolazioni più povere: per questo motivo si è guadagnato l'appellativo di “albero del pane”


Chestnuts are inexpensive, abundant, highly digestible, can be dried and preserved and the Garfagnana area in Tuscany has a territorial conformation that has always favored the growth of the chestnut, the fruit tree that have always nourished the poorest famylies: for this reason we got the nickname "bread tree"



Per secoli questo frutto e i suoi derivati come la sua farina, qui chiamata "farina di neccio" (in dialetto significa castagno), sono stati la principale fonte energetica per la popolazione di questi luoghi e per questo motivo sono ancora oggi il fondamentale ingrediente della cucina garfagnina. ll gruppo di amici che mi ospita mi fa visitare la costruzione cuore della trasformazione della castagna che la tramuta in farina e quindi successivamente nei piatti tipici di questo territorio: Ivo mi spiega meglio quali sono.


For centuries this fruit and its derivatives such as its flour, the so-called "neccio flour" (neccio in local dialect means chestnut), have been the main energy and nourishment source for the population of these places and for this reason they are still today the fundamental ingredient of the tipical local dishes. The group of friends who host me accompanies me to visit the building called the heart of the transformation of the chestnut which transforms it into flour and therefore into all the typical dishes of this area: Ivo explains to me better which are the most traditional ones.

"Il nostro dolce tipico è il Castagnaccio, una sorta di torta aromatizzata tradizionalmente al rosmarino e bucce di arancia, meglio se cotto in un forno di pietra"


"Our typical dessert is the Castagnaccio, a sort of cake traditionally flavored with nuts, rosemary and orange peels, better if cooked in a stone oven"

"Poi noi si usa fare molto la Polenta, con la farina di castagne, che spesso generava un piatto povero cucinato con gli ossi rimasti dalla lavorazione del maiale e che davano gusto: i nostri nonni, in periodi di magra, cucinavano ossi con la pochissima carne era rimasta intorno dopo la lavorazione, mentre noi oggi ci trattiamo meglio"


"We use to make the Polenta (a kind of porridge) a lot, with chestnut flour, which generated an anciente and simple dish cooked with the pork bones left over from the processing of the making of sausages and hams and which gave taste to this kind of poor dish: our grandparents, in lean periods, cooked bones with a very little meat left around bones after processing, while we treat ourselves better today "

E po ci sono i Necci, il cui impasto solitamente si fa con farina di castagne, olio extravergine di oliva e acqua cotti su un testo e che tradizionalmente farciti con la ricotta fresca.


And then there are the Necci, whose dough is displayed with chestnut flour, extra virgin olive oil and cooked on a pan without edges called testo and traditionally stuffed with fresh ricotta.

Gli amici garfagnini mi raccontano che il metato, la tipica casetta costruita per essiccare le castagne che solo dopo questa fase vengono macinate, funziona grazie ad un fuoco soffocato con della cenere che si provoca all'interno a terra mentre dall'esterno vengono caricate nella parte soppalcata le castagne intere e non sbucciate che cadono e si depositano su un pavimento fatto con arbusti di albero dal piccolo diametro per cui lo spazio tra loro permette al fumo e al calore di asciugare e seccare le castagne.


The Garfagnana friends tell me that the here so-called METATO, is the typical little house built to dry the chestnuts that are ground only after this phase; it works thanks to a very little fire suffocated with ash and which is made on the ground inside the METATO while from the outside chestnuts unpeeled are loaded in the upside part of the little building and settle on a floor made with small diameter tree shrubs so the spaces between the shrubs allow the coming on of the smoke and heat to dry the chestnuts.

"Non tutte le famiglie avevano un metato per cui spesso chi lo possedeva permetterva ad altri di seccare le proprie castagne e quindi recarsi presso un mulino a macine di pietra mosso ad acqua, per macinare le castagne e trasformarle in farina"


"Not all families had a metato so those who owned it often allowed other families to dry their chestnuts and then go to a mill with the stone millstones moved by the water, to grind the chestnuts turning them into flour"

Ivo mi spiega che la castagna garfagnina ha ottenuto anche il riconoscimento DOP che è stato conferito alla sua farina che viene prodotta con metodo tradizionale; ha un sapore dolce e intenso ma insieme a un debole accenno di amarognolo che richiama il mallo della noce. "La farina di neccio rappresenta un forte punto fisso per l'economia del nostro territorio e non solo è un simbolo alimentare antichissimo ma rappresenta la nostra storia , il passato e la memoria che non potremo mai dimenticare...." (approndisci a questo link)


Ivo explains to me that the Garfagnana chestnut has also obtained the POD product recognition which was given to its flour which is used with the traditional method. The chestnut flour has a sweet and intense flavor but at the same time a faint hint of bitterness that recalls the walnut husk. "Neccio flour represented a strong fixed point for the economy of our territory and not only because is an ancient food symbol but it represents our history, past and memory too and we will never forget about it.... " (read more at this link)


PER INFORMAZIONI / FOR MORE INFOS Ivo Poli +39 333 3119780

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