Chestnuts

Ancient Greeks and Romans brought chestnuts to Campania. The chestnut is grown in the mountains of Avellino, with nuts that are white, dense, and sweet. Hazelnuts from Campania are highly prized by confectioners, especially those of Salerno, which have a firm texture, white flesh, and fragrant aroma. Walnuts from the Sorrento hills also are well-known. The unripe, green walnuts are used in Nocino liqueur. Ripe walnuts appear in baked goods and candies.

In Campania the best known chestnuts are the ones “of the priest”, in Tuscany there are the famous “necci”, along all the Apennine they are used to prepare soups and desserts, flours and creams. In the past they were named “bread of tree” because for mountain people of many Italian regions they were essential to survive. Then, as if people would like to exorcize the periods of crisis of rural economy, they have been forgotten both in cities and in the country. Now at last they are enhancing them in the right way both in nature tourism and in the gastronomic one. That is happening thanks to many festivals dedicated to chestnuts and similar products which are able to involve thousands of fans. Also the restaurant, often even the great ones, have given the right value to chestnuts, rediscovering and reinterpreting the traditional recipes.
Our chestnut itinerary in Campania among woods, festivals and gastronomy starts from Irpinia where, for example in the high area of the Calore Valley, chestnuts were dried in peasant homes and they were left in wooden attics, exploiting the smoke and the heat of the kitchen below. A typical processing of the Christmas period is the “chestnut of the Priest” whose production area includes the towns of Montella, Bagnoli Irpino, Cassano Irpino, Nusco, Volturara Irpina and the Bolifano countryside in the Montemarano town district. You can buy them at Castagne Cappetta in Bagnoli Irpino, Caliento neighbourhood (phone +39 0827 602003) and at Salvatore Malerba’s in Montella in via Verteglia (phone +39 0827 61420), a biologic firm producing chestnut flour and white flour. You can taste the cuisine of the territory at the Osteria del Gallo e della Volpe in Ospedaletto d’Alpinolo (piazza Umberto – phone +39 0825 691225) where they prepare the wild boar with chestnuts and at the Chalet del Buongustaio in Serino (Spina neighbourhood – phone +39 0825 542976) where you can find maize puff pastry pockets with chestnut sauce.
Mount Terminio is near Cilento. Here the capital of chestnuts is Roccadaspide where famous chestnuts are produced. Also the procedure for the IGP mark (IGP means “Indicazione Geografica Tipica” which stands for Protected Geographical Indication and this term is used to describe to those goods for which the relationship between the geographical area and production standards may be limited to just one phase of the production process marks) has started. Some of these chestnuts are used to produce “marrons glacés” (chestnuts candied in sugar syrup and glazed), some are dried and another part is commercialized thanks to a producer Cooperative including hundreds of associates who export this product, fresh or processed, even to the United States. You can buy them at the Marronfonte in Roccadaspide, Fonte countryside, 27 phone +39 0828 943032. Regarding the desserts, the traditional “small trunk” and a chestnut flour cake can be tasted at the Casa Pulcino (Isca countryside – phone +39 0828 941836) and at the Casina del Principe  (phone +39 0828 742620).
The last stop of our journey is the Sorrento Peninsula. The area of Vico Equense is particularly right for chestnut production, most chestnuts are eaten fresh at home or in restaurants. There are many dishes based on this product which is a symbol of autumn and which characterizes the local gastronomy from October to December. Giuseppe Guida of the Osteria Nonna Rosa prepares a soup of chestnuts and pumpkin, enriched with Porcini mushrooms, whereas the chef Giuseppe Aiello of the Tavernetta in Meta uses chestnuts above all to prepare fresh pasta and to experiment new seafood-meat combinations.

L’Indicazione geografica protetta “Castagna di Montella” è riferita alle castagne prodotte per il 90% dalla varietà Palummina e per il restante 10% dalla varietà Verdole. Le caratteristiche distintive della“Castagna di Montella” IGP sono rappresentate da una pezzatura media o medio-piccola (75-90 frutti per Kg) e la forma rotondeggiante del frutto, con faccia inferiore piatta, base convessa e sommità ottusa mediamente pelosa. Il seme ha polpa bianca, croccante e di gradevole sapore dolce. La buccia (pericarpo) è sottile e di colore marrone carico, facilmente distaccabile.
Proprio la forma del frutto giustifica l’etimologia del nome della varietà Palommina, forma che ricorda la somiglianza di una colomba che in dialetto si traduce appunto in “palomma”. Grazie alle elevate caratteristiche di fragranza, sapidità e serbevolezza, la “Castagna di Montella” IGP viene utilizzata allo stato fresco (comprendendo anche il surgelato) e allo stato secco in guscio o senza.
Sotto l’aspetto dietetico nutrizionale, la “Castagna di Montella” è particolarmente rilevante per il contenuto in carboidrati, mentre scarso è il contenuto proteico.
Oltre che come caldarroste, le castagne di Montella sono particolarmente richieste dall’industria di trasformazione per uso marron glacés, marmellate, al naturale, purea. Ottime per guarnire carni e nelle minestre, ma il loro impiego si esalta soprattutto nella preparazione di dolci, di diverso tipo.
La “Castagna di Montella” IGP è considerata tra le migliori castagne prodotte in Italia; le ragioni di tale successo risiedono, oltre che alla qualità intrinseca della varietà, anche nella composizione dei terreni, nel clima favorevole ma anche nell’elevata professionalità raggiunta dai castanicoltori della zona che contribuiscono ad esaltare il livello qualitativo del prodotto.
Una tipologia commerciale della “Castagna di Montella”, soprattutto nel periodo natalizio, è la castagna infornata (la famosa Castagna del Prete), per la quale è stata richiesta un’integrazione all’attuale disciplinare di produzione. Essa è realizzata con le castagne in guscio essiccate, tostate e successivamente idratate con acqua. In particolare la preparazione prevede che le castagne, una volta essiccate su graticci di legno, al di sotto dei quali si accendono per 15 gg. dei fuochi utilizzando legno di castagno, vengano tostate in forni ventilati e poi reidratate. Queste castagne una volta sgusciate si presentano dal colore marrone intenso e dal sapore caratteristico che richiama la caramellizzazione degli zuccheri.
Logo IGPThe company Molinari Felice – “Il Castagneto (Chestnut Grove)”, is the first italian website, online since 18th of march 2009, to promote Montella’s territory through the selling of chestnuts. They offer exclusively Montella organic chestnuts.
Molinari is located in Montella within the “Picentini Mountain Regional Park”, altitude of 1000 m. The size of farm is 2 hectares for a total volume of 4 tons of chestnuts. The quality and quantity depending by annual atmospheric conditions. While the quantity is always good, the quantity is subject to strong swinging.Logo Montella's ChestnutThe Montella’s Chestnut is in absolute the first italian food recognized DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) in the July of 1987. This had been a very important milestone for the local community. But the excellent quality and the uniqueness of the fruits leads to most important european acknowledgment: PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).
For more information please look at official site of Regione Campania.

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Pasta TomatoesOlive OilVegetables LegumesMozzarellaCheeseAnchoviesTartufo NeroChestnutsHazel NutsFigsTorroneWineLimoncello ____________________________________________________
USA: Wellington, Florida TEL(561)-422-3200  CELL(561)-312-7925
ITALY: Castel San Giorgio (SA) TEL(081)-009-2539  CELL(345)-328-9802
campania-foods.com –    info@campania-foods.com

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