The collection of chestnuts on Lake Como: panorama and taste come together for a single walk.
After a long, hot and muggy summer we all waited for the fresh and mild autumn, with its scents, flavors and unique colors. Around Lake Como one of the main activities of this season it is the chestnut harvest.
The chestnut (Castagna in italian or Castegna in the local dialect) is a typical fruit of our mountains. You will find them below many chestnut trees that surround the lake. They are covered by a green spiky shell that opens only once they are mature, from September to November. The chestnut has always been widespread and easy to find, this has made the flour at the base of some kind of focaccias and polentas, like a poor man’s bread.
There are different types of chestnut into the Lake Como area, the most famous are Marroni chestnut, the greatest and tasty ones, suitable to be cooked in different ways, such as boiled or roasted on fire. But you can also find the Lüina chestnut, that are perfect to be used dry, or Verdesa, kept fresh in a “ricciaia” (that is a place where chestnuts are preserved still enclosed until the maturation). Other types of chestnut that you can collect in the area are the Anghirovera or Ranghirovera, large but with little savory, or Ostana, a chestnut that matures very early, small and sweet.
Chestnuts are a fruit very rich in starch and protein and low in fat: fantastic! They are extremely valuable for many typical Larian dishes, such as soups with chestnuts, castegn e làcc, chestnut polenta and chestnut gnocchi. I personally love them also simply boiled or cooked direct on the fire, accompanied by a glass of red wine (preferably young) or hot mulled wine (vin brulè).
In our area in october we organize various festivals and events dedicated to this fruit of the wood. The October 11th in Varenna and Lanzo d’Intelvi you could find the opportunity to collect chestnuts with other people, while in Torre de Busi and Cernobbio you can taste all the specialties made from this amazing fruit during the festivals (sagre).
You can taste specialties made from chestnut at the Hotel Posta and at the Veranda Restaurant also during our food and wine events of Autumn. The program of these special days will be released in a few days, don’t miss it and come to taste all our specialties! We are waiting for you, as always, with a smile!
Photo Credits: Commons Wikimedia Lucinao