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Chestnuts, what a passion!
The tastiest harvest of the year in the Cinque Terre
Beyond the coast, beyond the terraces, within the Cinque Terre National Park, lies the heart of the Ligurian tradition: it matures in October, smells of undergrowth and dresses the autumn of beauty.

The bread tree

Traditionally, chestnut harvesting in the Cinque Terre lasts a whole day. In the past, chestnut woods occupied large areas of the territory, but few families owned them. However, the chestnut was the basis of the Ligurian diet: it was made from flour and for this reason the chestnut was called “the bread tree”. Therefore, every year in October children and young people left the coast armed with sacks and sticks to reach the nearest chestnut grove; what did it matter to cross over into private property? As the saying goes, in fact, “the chestnut has its tail and the one who picks it up is his”! At sunset, with full sacks and without being seen by the owners, the young gatherers returned to the coast, where they put chestnuts in metati to dry them and, finally, take them to the mill.

Recipes, tradition and ... magic!

The Ligurian gastronomy is rich in recipes based on chestnuts. In autumn, among the alleyways of the villages, the inviting aroma of roast chestnuts is diluted, to be eaten in front of the fireplace, accompanied by a good red wine. In this period of the year, in the menus of the restaurants appear – specialties in the Cinque Terre – trofie with chestnut flour, fat chestnuts, mixed with pork rinds, burdaghi and baleti, or boiled chestnuts. Among the villages of the coast of La Spezia, chestnuts also become street food: it is not rare, in fact, to come across some village festival where you will not miss the stand where you can find the stools, pancakes whose autumn variant is prepared with chestnut flour.
But the most curious recipe remains that of castagnaccio: famous for its characteristic enveloping taste, it seems that this cake was endowed with magical properties that made those who ate it fall in love with the person who had prepared it. In short, a delicious love filter!

On the other hand, it is true that spells and potions are not needed to fall in love with the Cinque Terre. Seeing is believing.

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