The Sign of an Umbrian November? Chestnuts!

November 26, 2012 1:24 pm Published by 1 Comment

Peppa roasts chestnuts on her woodstove

“Nel tempo delle castagne il porco ride e la pecora piange” (“At chestnut time, the pig laughs and the sheep weeps”), says an Italian proverb. Yes, the pigs relish the earthy goodness of chestnuts, but the flavor is not enticing to a sheep. For me, the rich taste of roasted chestnuts is a sign of autumn about to slip away, winter creeping in. When the weather chills in Umbria, the rural people gather around their woodstoves at night. The woodstove – center of any farm kitchen – heats the house and farmwomen toast bruschettaon the woodstove top, simmer soups and sauces and roast chestnuts.

Giorgio slits chestnuts for roasting

The chestnuts are washed and each one is slit to allow expansion as they roast on the woodstove. Peppa likes her peeled, roasted chestnuts in a glass of red wine. If you’re in Italy in November, a memorable night is one spent around the woodstove with our farm friends, sharing roasted chestnuts and il vino novello(“the new wine”). Join us!

And as you walk through Assisi’s main piazza, stop at the chestnut cart of Giorgio, right near the fountain: he’ll roll up a brown paper cone for you, filling it with hot roasted chestnuts. Che buono!

Read about Peppa’s celebration of November 11th chestnuts/new wine tradition MP…go here
Click here to read about San Martino, new wines and chestnuts

Click here to read about chestnuts and other November Umbrian culinary treats

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1 Comment

  • andrea joseffer says:

    Dear Ann;
    Your writing is most tender. One can tell that you are in love with Italy, its people, its towns its wonders. I am an American Italian who spends many a holiday in Italy and my sentiments are as yours. This May I am going to spend three weeks in Taormina and very much enjoyed reading about your excursion in Sicily. Do you know of a guide that can take me on a two and a half day journey from Taormina through the countryside to San Mauro and Castelbuono and then back again to Taormina….maybe overnighting in one or two B and B.
    I am seeking a similar experience to yours, tiny towns, small kitchens with good eats, and off the tourist route. My family is from San Mauro and Castelbuono so those two towns are important…..other than that, I am open.
    Please let me know if there is someone you would recommend as a guide. Buona Pasqua!!!
    Mrs. Andrea Joseffer

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