Visiting Italy in October? So why not to get involved in delicious chestnuts adventure. There are few possible ways: you can enjoy the taste with buying already roasted chestnuts in the streets or you can pick fresh ones from shops, small local sellers and prepare them by yourself. As well absolutely great idea to participate in one of the chestnuts fairs, which are being held in Italy during the harvesting time. That is so great because you can not only buy them, but to find other various things containing chestnuts too, like flour, jam, even pasta, and especially castagnaccio cake, made from chestnuts and pine nuts as well as other ingredients, particular for each Italian region. So if you are in Toscana, Piemonte, Lazio, Campania or Sicily during the fall season – check dates of the chestnuts fairs and participate in one of them!
There is one more way to enjoy those nuts – go to the forest and pick them by yourself. That’s what I’ve chosen to do. If you are interested in such activity, check for possible points around your staying place where they are growing. Or ask any older Italian. But don’t expect the absolute truth – some hidden places are existing, where nature offers the rich quantity of nuts only for those who know that secret.
Our chestnuts picking point was the forest near the mountain village in Tuscany called Castagno d’Andrea. If you will come to this or any other place famous for chestnuts – be aware of special territories, where chestnut trees are being grown only for the market. It is forbidden to pick those brown treasures from there. You will recognize such territories very easy: there are no fences, but writings on the trees and extremely clean surrounding will be your signs.
Have a bag? Have some gloves? So, you are ready for chestnut hunting. Have in mind that gloves are nearly essential. And there is nothing about the dirt, but about the prickly chestnut fruits, from which sometimes you need to take out the beautiful brown nuts. Save your hands from those sharp natural needles! However usually chestnuts are already fallen out from their prickly shells so you are picking them straight from the ground. Have near yourself an Italian who will be your guide about the chestnuts: which to take, how should they look like, when they are already matured and so on.
After chestnuts hunt it is really great to roast them straight on the fireplace in the forest. Just don’t forget to take with yourself a special holey pan before! If there’s no possibility to do so – prepare them easy at home: roast on the regular pan, in the oven, even boil in the water, make flour or do whatever your chosen recipe suggests.
So, are you ready to go out from city rush for chestnut hunting in the nature?