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castagna

chestnut

Similar to the marrone, but generally a bit coarser in texture. Several chestnut varieties, the Castagna di Cuneo (Piedmont), Castagna di Montella (Campania), and the Castagna di Monte Amiata (Tuscany) have IGP status.

The Castagna di Vallerano, grown near Viterbo (Lazio) is DOP.

The castagna del prete, the 'priest's chestnuts' are in the Ark of Taste. There were originally made in Irpinia, in Avellino province in Campania: chestnuts were peeled, dried slowly on a smouldering chestnut wood fire for 15 days then roasted; when it was time to eat them they would be re-hydrated in water and wine. The 'limp' chestnuts that didn't quite dry out enough in the oven were strung together like rosary beads. Today the castagna del prete are made that way on purpose all across Campania.

An annual Sagra delle Castagne, complete with traditional games and costumes, takes place in Soriano nel Cimino (Lazio) the first and second weekends in October.

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Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: it1315922