Castagna Season! – Mercato

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Castagna Season!
Deliciously healthy and ultra-tasty, fresh Australian chestnuts are the most versatile ingredient in season from mid-March until July.
 
What are chestnuts?
 
Chestnuts are sweet, edible nuts that grow inside of a prickly casing called a burr. They have an inedible dark brown outer shell, and a paper-like skin that need to be removed before eating.
 
In Italian, chestnuts are pronounced Castagne (cast-ah-nyeg). They have been cultivated for over 2000 years and were imported into Italy and the rest of the European continent from the near East and Turkey.  
 
The reason why chestnuts are so popular are not only for its delicious taste, however for all the health benefits it contains. Chestnuts have low fat and high fibre content and are packed with vitamins and minerals such as manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
 
Communities in mountainous and forested areas of Italy relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates, and in some regions, a cake made of chestnuts is used as a substitute for potatoes.
 
 
Sagra Della Castagna
 
Chestnut festival, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio
 
 
In Italy, villages in the country celebrate festa or sagra della castagna on an annual basis. 
 
The Chestnut Festival, is a historical reenactment taking place in Soriano nel Cimino, in the Province of Viterbo, on the first three weekends of October.
The origin of the festival dates back to the 15th Century, when the City Council established the first celebration in honour of the local speciality, chestnuts. The modern version of the festival took place for the first time in 1968 and it consists of two main sections: the historical reenactment and the celebrations in honour of the chestnut.
 
The chestnut festival is filled with interesting events such as food and wine tasting, Convivium Secretum: a historical cooking contest between the four districts of the town, preparing Medieval and Renaissance recipes, ring jousting, archery tournament, popular traditional games, the historical reenactment recreating the main historical events of Soriano from 1200 to 1489.
 
 
Chestnuts in dishes
 
Chestnuts are ideal for earthy rustic cooking and can be used in soups like chestnut and cauliflower soup, stews such as sausage and chestnut casserole or as a puree instead of mashed potato. They also are a delicious ingredient for when making desserts!  
 
Chestnuts can definitely be eaten on their own and are extra tasty when roasted! Accompanied with warm bread and a glass of vino, be sure not to be disappointed. 
 

 LEARN HOW TO ROAST YOUR OWN CHESTNUTS

CASTAGNACCIO RECIPE - TUSCAN STYLE CHESTNUT FLOUR CAKE

FRESH CHESTNUT AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO

 
 
 
Chestnut facts 
 
Dried 
When chestnuts have dried, it loses most of its water as its caloric value increases. According to the usual conversion table, 100 grams of fresh chestnut provides 199 calories; dried, they provide almost twice (371 calories) that amount.
 
Flour 
Dried chestnuts can be grounded into flour. Because chestnut flour does not rise, many commentators refused to call the loaves bread. Chestnut flour and all the products derived from it (from bread to beer), are gluten free.
  
Roasted
One of the most common ways to cook chestnuts is to roast them. Roasted chestnuts were sold on the streets of Rome in the sixteenth century and still sold on the streets of European towns in the winter. The Italian name for roasted chestnut is caldarroste, and they are sold in paper cones on the street. It's easy and quick to cook. The only advice is to cut a cross on the flat side of the chestnuts to avoid their explosion. They are usually cooked in a typical frying pan with a lot of holes to let the fire burn the chestnuts directly.
  
Wood
Chestnut is of the same family of the oak, and likewise its wood contains many tannins. This makes its wood very lasting, gives it excellent natural outdoor resistance and avoids the need for extra protection. Chestnut's timber is decorative. Light brown in colour, it is sometimes confused with oak wood. Young chestnut wood has proved more durable than oak for woodwork. After most of its growth is achieved, chestnut's timber tends to split and warp more the older it is to begin with; neither as hard nor quite as strong as oak.
  
Zinc 
Zinc is one of the minerals found in chestnuts among others like potassium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and calcium.
 
WE SELL CHESTNUTS!
Come in-store to grab your castagne (chestnuts) ready for those cold, winter days. If you don't own already, we recommend accessories such as chestnut cutters and a roasting pan. Additionally, we also sell chestnut flour, chestnut cream, chestnut crema liqueur, chestnut honey and chestnut puree.

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