Is there a particular speciality in Corsica? – yes, without hesitation: chestnuts

pain à la farine de chataigneThey were always associated to attending a fair or some type of outing, and around Christmas time – until I arrived in Corsica

I really hadn’t the slightest idea as to their importance and representation here. Autumn is chestnut season, and when many people take the opportunity to spend hours collecting them in the surrounding woods. Towards the north of the island, there is a particular spot, the ‘Castagniccia’, and this is the heart of chestnut country in all its glory, where the hills are plainly covered with chestnut forests.

It was after the effects of the Middle Ages, and the great wars, that they were massively planted in Corsica under Genoese command. I realised they were to Corsica, what potatoes were to Ireland – the food of the poor and defender of the people, and this island remains one of the last places where they are eaten as a cereal “bread fruit” as they have been named. Sound nutritional benefits, containing many vitamins, calcium, fibre, potassium and magnesium to name but a few, this fruit is highly recommended for all – and a substantial dose of energy. Sitting by an open fire with grilled chestnuts, is, in my opinion, the ideal place to be over the colder months. It is said, in certain regions during a honeymoon, the bride must make 22 different meals with chestnuts!

Now to return to certain specialities made from chestnut flour: bread, cakes/pastries, pies, donuts, pancakes, and polenta. A very distinctive taste, this polenta, unlike anything I had ever tasted and there is almost a ritual in the making of it too, where time is suspended and the ‘savoir faire’ stands in and takes over. Chestnut liqueur, brandy, beer, jam and honey, terrines, nougat, cosmetics, and even recipes for chestnut wine! I think you have understood by now, chestnuts are the basis of ancestral preparation of food here in Corsica; and during the winter months a chestnut fair is held in one of the nearby villages Bucugnà (Bocognano), where a large display of goods can be tasted and admired.

gateau à la f de c                     liqueur-de-chataigne Françoise








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2 comments to Is there a particular speciality in Corsica? – yes, without hesitation: chestnuts

  • Ger  says:

    It’s very intersting and Written with such a poetic “flavor”…..
    I love chestnut and I like mixing chocolate/chestnut in cakes.

  • Pamela  says:

    a highly energetic combination, and thank you Ger

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