The Corsican Chestnut « A Castagna »

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« A chì ùn ni hà, ùn ni mangna. Sè tù voli a farina và à coglia a castagna ».  "He who has nothing will not eat. If you want flour, go and pick chestnuts". And we are exactly at the time when the Corsican product par excellence is being picked! But do you know the whole story?

The history of the Corsican chestnut

The chestnut tree, or "breadfruit tree", is an integral part of Corsican history. It even gave its name to a region in Haute-Corse, Castagniccia. Although chestnuts have been grown on the island of beauty since time immemorial, it was not until the arrival of the Genoese colonisers in the Middle Ages that the fruit really came into its own.

At a time of famine, the Genoese forced every Corsican landowner to plant at least 4 trees a year to pay their taxes. The chestnut tree was an obvious choice, recognised for its nutritional value: one chestnut tree could provide a family with enough food for a month.

Top products made with Corsican chestnuts

The famous Pietra

This delicious beer, which you like to enjoy after a hike, is the most popular in Corsica. With 6% alcohol, it is brewed from barley malt and Corsican chestnut flour, which gives it its unique caramel flavour. Why is it called Pietra? Because it was created in Pietraserena, a commune in Haute-Corse, by Dominique Sialelli in 1994.

Chestnut flour

Chestnut flour is the basis of many Corsican culinary specialities.

  • Pulenta (Corsican bread made from chestnut flour, water and salt).
  • Migliacci (savoury dishes made with chestnut flour and goat's or ewe's cheese).
  • Canistrelli (sweet, dry, brittle biscuits). It takes 3 kilos of chestnuts to make one kilo of flour.

Since 2006, Corsican chestnut flour has benefited from an AOC label guaranteeing the origin of the fruit, unique know-how and a distinctive flavour.

Corsican chestnut furniture

If the fruit of this tree is renowned, so is its wood among cabinet-makers and furniture enthusiasts. Hard and resistant, chestnut wood is just as good for building frameworks, floors, doors and shutters as it is for mill wheels, barrels and furniture (tables, chairs, cupboards, chests, etc.).