The precious, elegant and autumnal “peasants’ bread”

“We eat bread and chestnuts”

Francesco De Gregori

Chestnuts, the queen of autumn; for ages called “peasants’ bread”, they are on the contrary a really precious fruit first of all for the beauty of the tree and secondary for the properties and qualities of the fruit.

The chestnut is a wild fruit that in the past used to be eat both boiled and roasted, but above all, it was used for the nutritious flour preparing bread and many other dishes. It was then decided to control the culture with a real restyling, between pruning and grafting. This is how the domestic chestnuts were born: a little bit bigger, roundish and clear, with the shape like a heart.

Nowadays this fruit is more and more present on the autumn tables from the appetizer to the dessert for almost all the season. Moreover, it is really tasty, as well as natural remedy know since the dawn of time.

In the middle age the chestnut was used against migraine and gout. The boiled water with leaves and skins was recommended for heart problems. For the spleen, instead, were suggested roasted chestnuts, while boiled ones were for the liver patients. With the addition of licorice and sweet fern, it could also become an excellent remedy for those who were suffering from stomach upset.

The infusion of leaves and cortex, thanks to their active ingredients, still be a panacea against cough and to disinfect the breathing apparatus in general. The pulp could become an excellent hydrating mask: 20 boiled chestnuts, a spoon of honey, a spoon of almond oil, an orange slice without seeds and everything in the mixer.

Back to the middle age, chestnuts were even considered an aphrodisiac food if it was let macerate or boiled in the wine. Try it to believe!

Satiating, rich in fibers and minerals, chestnuts have the same nutritional value of cereals. They also folic acid: a vitamin which can prevent some fetus malformations. A food therefore not to be neglected even during pregnancy, but to be eaten in any case at least three times a week. Excellent allies of the nervous system, they should be especially chosen in the moments of severe stress and fatigue, as well as being a natural remedy even in case of lack of appetite or need of a ‘food tonic.

The jewel-recipe of the autumn is the castagnaccio: 300 gr of chestnuts flour, one liter of water, 30 gr of sugar and a pinch of salt worked until a thick and homogeneous mixture is obtained. Once in the mold, sprinkle with pine nuts, walnut kernels and raisins before baking everything for about 1 hour at 200 degrees. Castagnaccio will be ready once you form a dark and cracked crust.

Chestnut risottos, broths and soups are present in various traditional nuances region by region. The puree, by the way, is an excellent filling for vegetables. There are also biscuits and desserts always made with chestnuts usually boiled.

This fruit is not missing from the tables of the AbanoRitz: come to discover it!

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