Autumn in Tuscany and Castagnaccio Recipe

The Fall Season is the subject of our second “America-Italy” Post. Marissa and I both love autumn, and our idea is to describe all the feelings that this season brings to us. One of my dreams is spending an entire autumn travelling around USA, watching the nature changing colors, living all the traditions, first of all Halloween and Thanksgiving, and trying all the delicious fall recipes. One day I’ll do for sure, for now i love reading Marissa’s post and try her tasty recipe, and I enjoy the Italian autumn!

I like all the seasons but autumn has a special appeal to me! Autumn carries something new everyday: the change of the landscape colors, the sky shades, the scents of the air, with the fall season, markets show new fruits and vegetables on stall and new flowers in vases.

In Autumn there are no important holidays or celebrations in Italy. But there is something special in the Tuscan Autumn, a particular atmosphere , a “back to the country life” atmosphere . Most the activities of this season involve products of the land and what they are transformed in. All the activities offer the possibility to go back to what it’s simple and enjoy “country life”. This is the time for walking in woods looking for mushrooms or chestnuts, spending days outside picking up olives, collecting firewood in the forest and for kids running around collecting dry leaves and pinecones. In tuscany and all Italy Fall season means also hunting season, i do not like it but it’s another part of our country life. All these activities remember to us the significance of the farmland in our life, remind us that the countryside is part of us. My last consideration: the autumn remind us also how warmful and joyful is spending time together doing all these activities.

Here some autumn activities in Tuscany:
One of the most important activity in Tuscany it’s the olive picking and the production of Extravergine Olive Oil. At the end of October the picking starts. It can be done by hand or using tractors with an compressed air machine and some mechanic rakes. Everyday, at the end of the day, all the picked olives have to be taken to the olive press. The day after you’ll have your new extravergine olive oil. Some farms, like Podere Vignali, organize olive picking days open to guests…It is a nice experience to try!!!

In autumn a lot of people loves searching for mushrooms,

and chestnuts

Chestnuts are delicious, we eat them in a lot of way: roasted, dry and boiled in milk. It is possible to produce flour from chestnuts, it is used principally to prepare pasta (principally tagliatelle), cakes ( see my recipe!!!) and biscuits. We have chestnut recipes for risotto or soups. Also it’s possible to prepare chestnut jam, sweets (my favorite is Marron Glacè … see the photo above) and taste chestnut biere.
In Tuscany there are a lot of areas with woods of chestnut tree but 5 places are very famous for the quality of these fruits, where it’s possible to find the DOP and IGP chestnut and its products. These 5 places are: Garfagnana (Lucca) known for a special chestnut flour “la Farina di Neccio”, Lunigiana (Massa Carrara) for the chestnut and the chestnut flour, Mugello (Firenze), Amiata(Grosseto) and Caprese Michelangelo (Arezzo) known for their special chestnuts.

Another autumn activity is collecting and setting all the firewood, ready for the cold season. I love to lay in front of a fireplace, with friends and family, talking and drinking wine … W Autumn!!!

My favorite activity is dedicated to the autumn fruits (and most of the time prepare jams) and vegetables. In a market it’s normal to find apples, pears, kaki, grapes, escarole, cauliflowers and broccoli in autumn, but, in Tuscany, in this season there are some other particular fruits as queens, loquat, “corbezzoli”, pomegranate

and vegetables as cavolo nero, variety of cabbage and chard, perfect ingredients for delicious soups

for example Ribollita !

As i wrote above i love autumn. For me the autumn means all these activities and more. I love all the situations that fall season inspire me … like the pleasure to walk with the cool breeze on face, to admir the morning mist rise and dissapear with the sun and when it’s too cold to stay at home with family and friends … and to cook seasonal recipe for all !!!

Here a autumn tuscan recipe, Il castagnaccio , the chestnut flour cake, easy and delicious !!!

Castagnaccio

350ml water
250gr chestnut flour
100gr raisins
60gr pinenuts
60gr walnut (coarsely groud)
3 tbs of olive oil
2 pinches of salt
some rosemary needles

Pass the flour throught a sieve and put it on a bowl. Mix the water and the olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Add the water and olive oil mix to the flour slowly, while mixing. The batter has to be soft , not too liquid. Add pinenuts, walnuts and raisins and mix well. Oil a pan large enough so the castagnaccio will be 1cm thick. Pour the batter. Put the rosemary needles on the batter ( i have not done it because i do not like it !). Bake it at 200°C (400 Fahrenheit) for 40 minutes.
Buon Appetito!!!

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14 thoughts on “Autumn in Tuscany and Castagnaccio Recipe

  1. Pingback: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges - Pinch and Swirl

  2. Pingback: New Post “Autumn in Tuscany and Castagnaccio Recipe” | CRAZYaboutTUSCANY

  3. Ahhh…the sights and smells of Fall in the air. We always love the Autumn visits, and so look forward to all of the foods you described. Our trip starts this Thursday, and we will be in the Tuscany area until the 28th…thanks for a “vacation” visit via your blog prior to our actual vacation! LOL!

  4. I love the views of Italy! I’m planning my own vacation there in a few months and I’ve been looking into things to do while over there. I am a huge history fan, so I would love to visit all of the areas of historical significance, as well as experience the culture of the country. I’ve also heard about the luxury villas in Tuscany, and would love to go look at them. What was your favorite thing about your vacation? do you have any suggestions for things to do for me?

    • I’m happy you are coming to visit Italy, there are so many things to visit and if you like history this is the perfect place! If you love roman history Rome is unique, if you prefer Roman time and Greek influence, south Italy it is a great place! If you are a medieval and renaissance time lover Tuscany, Umbria and north italy are your regions! Let me know what you want to see and how long are you going to stay ( I think small villages and town are really special but you need time!!!) I’ll be happy to give lots of suggestions!!!

  5. This is my favorite recipe for castagnaccio, with one addition: I soak the raisins overnight in vin santo. I find that this adds an extra dimension to the recipe and combines interestingly with the chestnut flour, nuts, and rosemary. As a rosemary, pine but, and chestnut flour lover, I can’t imagine anything better than this recipe!

    • I’m agree with you: i love castagnaccio !!!
      And i’ll try your suggestion for sure! Normally i don’t do it because i’m always afraid the taste of the castagnaccio become too strong for my son ( he is 8 years old and he loves this cake!) ! But next time i’ll try it … new taste for my son !!! Thanks

  6. The photo might make this galette look a bit dull, but the recipe is the best of all the ones I looked at. You don’t want granulated sugar in castagnaccio! The raisins soaked in Vin Santo give it the sweetness. This is the only addition I’d suggest to this perfectly simple recipe.

    • I do not want granulated sugar, raisins give enough “sweet taste” , and also i think sugar cover all the other tastes that are in perfect balance!!! Thank you very much for your compliments to the recipe, i’ll follow your suggestion !!!

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