An age old Corsican proverb  ‘If you have nothing, you will eat nothing, if you want to make flour, go and collect chestnuts.’

A chì un ni hà, un ni mangna. Sé tu voli a farina va à coglia a castagna ».

What could be better than sitting around a big open fire on a Corsican winter night roasting chestnuts, drinking muscat and sharing a figatelli.

The chestnut collecting here, starts in September and continues through to November, depending on the season.

Chestnuts have a huge historical importance on the island.

  • The history of the chesnut

The chestnut has been absolutely essential to the population’s survival.  There is a region in the north of the island named after the tree ‘La Castagniccia,’ It is a vast area of ancient chestnut trees. The forest covers the hills and the valleys but this landscape is anything but natural.  it is, in fact, the result of hard work and manpower. The trees were cultivated during the sixteenth century, they were seeded, transplanted, grafted, watered and pruned. The chestnut crop was more reliable than cereals and represents the initiative and determination of the Genoese.

The Genois obliged every Corsican that had land, to plant four trees per year. The chestnut was the obvious choice and has a high nutritional value.

  • So what are today’s best selling chesnut based products

Pietra bière corse à la chataignePietra –This is a delicious beer that is a real favourite on the island. It has 6% strength and is made from barley and chestnuts, giving a unique caramel like flavour.

The name is derived from the village of fabrication in the North of Corsica, Pietraserena. They started production in 1994.

Chesnut flour

Farine de Chataignes corseIt has a really nutty flavour and can make an interesting change to your crèpes.  You will find it typically in  polenta, migliacci, canistrelli biscuits, chestnut flan, cake, mousse, blinis…….

It takes about 3 kilos of chestnuts to obtain 1 kilo of flour.  Since 2006 an AOC label was introduced. This indicates that the flour is an authentic local product, made from local chestnuts.  It is a mark of quality control.

Chesnut furniture

As well as the fruit being particularly nutritive and versatile, the wood is also sought after by carpenters and craftsmen.  It is both resistant and attractive. You can find it used for expensive furniture, doors, windows, even mill wheels.

Pulenta avec figatellu, brocciu et oeuf

Written by Frédéric Cesari

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *