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Italian Chestnuts, a delight to discover

Chestnuts are not very big, flattened on one side, with a strong pee of a dark brown colour, and a tasty pulp.

Chestnuts are a fruit that over time has changed its connotation, from the food of the poor (the chestnut was the bread of the poor, whereas neither potatoes nor the corn were known in the European countryside until the sixteenth century) to a real delight for refined palates and increasingly present in the kitchens of the great chefs in the original forms, or transformed into flour, jams, puree, soups and more…

There are three types of chestnuts that are recognized with the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and 1 Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

Varieties of Chestnuts

Here is the list of Italian chestnuts protected by a denomination of origin or a geographical indication:

  • Castagna Cuneo IGP (Piemonte)
  • Castagna del Monte Amiata IGP (Toscana)
  • Castagna di Montella IGP (Campania)
  • Castagna di Vallerano DOP (Lazio)
  • Note that among the protected products, there is also the chestnut flour of Lunigiana DOP (Toscana)
  • Marrone del Mugello IGP (Toscana)
  • Marrone della Valle di Susa IGP (Piemonte)
  • Marrone di Caprese Michelangelo DOP (Toscana)
  • Marrone di Castel del Rio IGP (Emilia Romagna)
  • Marrone di Combai IGP (Veneto)
  • Marrone di Roccadaspide IGP (Campania)
  • Marrone di San Zeno DOP (Veneto)
  • Marroni del Monfenera IGP (Veneto)

A Gourmet Recipe

Let’s move on to the kitchen : The specialty of Giancarlo Morelli, a Michelin-star Chef from the Pomiroeu of Seregno (Milan-Lombardy), is the risotto. This risotto in birch broth and smoked chestnut powder is an experience to try…

For the preparation of the risotto, place a chopped onion in a saucepan with 50 g of butter and sauté for about 3 minutes, without making the onion colour. Then you have to add the rice and let it cook for a few minutes. Then add a tablespoon of boiling birch broth and proceed in a traditional way of preparing a risotto, adding boiling broth at regular intervals and bringing the rice to cook.

When the rice is cooked optimally, it must be removed from the heat and added to the remaining butter, Parmesan cheese and goat cheese. Finally, the touch of chestnut: Pour the risotto into warm dishes and garnish with smoked chestnut powder.

For the birch broth, proceed as if to prepare a vegetable broth, adding the young twigs of birch and leaving for infusion at 90 degrees for 12 hours, before filtering.

To prepare the smoked chestnut ,it is necessary to blanch the chestnuts in water, drain them, and smoke slightly. Let them dry in the oven at 75 degrees for 10 hours and grind them until they become a powder.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 600g Carnaroli rice
  • 150 g butter
  • 150 g Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 50 g white wine
  • 50 g onion
  • 200 g fresh goat cheese, wrapped in birch leaves
  • 3 L of birch broth
  • 100 g smoked chestnuts
  • 50g Birch SAP