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July 16, 2004

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Cathy

Alberto - you have brought back some fond memories! We went to Italy last October and visited Migliana for the chestnut festival. It was an amazing drive up to the top of the mountain where the little village sits and the festival itself was fascinating. It was very small - there was a table with a few crafts for sale, but mostly it was all about the chestnuts. They were roasting them in a barrel and everyone was standing around eating chestnuts. The ground was strewn with chestnut hulls. They were serving a few other food items besides the chestnuts and we tried them all. We didn't know the names of any of them, but I now know one of them was Castagnaccio. The one I had was plain - dark, chewy, slightly sweet as you said, and tasted of rosemary. I'll have to find some chestnut flour and give this a go! I like the idea of adding orange rind and raisins. Thanks for the recipe!

Theresa

I've been looking for Northern Italian castagne recipes and this one fits the bill so well - simple and rustic. All the better that Vin Santo should be a good accompaniment for it - have been trying ways to finish that bottle in the cupboard. Many thanks Alberto!

Alberto

Cathy, you're welcome. Chestnut festivals are an Autumn tradition I miss. When I was still living in Italy it was an occasion I tried never to miss.

Theresa, enjoy the vin santo but... trying to finish the bottle? You should invite me around ;-). I don't know how well castagniaccio works with fresh castagne. If that's what you have at hand, I'd rather cook them in water (and a bay leaf, as tradition wants), peel them, make a puree with milk, a bit of butter and some vin santo and use this as a stuffing for a crostata (one of those Italian style tarts). Or make my favourite: Mont balnc. Not very Italian but... addictive :-)

Dave

Hey Alberto,
A friend of mine made this for us several times and I, over time, developed a love of it. I can't wait to make my own. Thanks for the recipe.

Alberto

Dave, you're welcome. Maybe try both one made with water and one with milk to taste the difference. And if you have any left-overs, sprinkle them with some sweet wine, in the oven 5 minutes and eat.. mmhhh :-)

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