It is now autumn, the trees begin to lose their leaves, the climate gets cooler, the first rains are already seen … and immediately you can smell the typical aroma chestnuts in the air. There are many chestnut recipes, some well known, some less but definitely one of the best ways to taste them is boiled or roasted accompanied by a great wine.
Some curiosities about chestnuts
Chestnuts have been a well known food since ancient times characterized by a nutrition similar to that of wheat. Already in distant times, Marziale and Virgil talked about cultivating this fruit in republican Rome, but it had its peak in consumption during the Middle Ages when they began preparing chestnut-based recipes. In particular they used to make chestnut flour, perfect for preparing lots of complete and tasty recipes.
Let me explain: the scientific name is Castanea sativa and is part of the Fagaceae family, or a family of woody plants. Italy is one of the most affluent countries for this food and counts up to 800,000 hectares of chestnut trees. This fruit was especially appreciated in the past, especially among the poorest families since it can be stored for a long time and it was useful to eat mainly in the winter, when the stormy climate restricted the availability of food.
A little curiosity is that in the most peripheral areas it was even used as an exchange currency. After the Middle Ages however, they were gradually replaced with cereal crops and chestnut wood was replaced by the advent of plastic and other more durable materials.
Chestnuts and traditions
You will probably be wondering why it is strongly recommended to accompany chestnuts with wine. As you well know, both wine and chestnuts in the past were the everyday food of ordinary people, thanks to the high energy and availability. Nowadays, besides the fact that famine is no longer a problem the ancient traditions of cultivating land and wine making have been lost. Because of this, chestnuts have now become somewhat of a delicacy, delicious food that delivers some delight at the table accompanied by an excellent wine made in Italy.Wait … there is more: you had better make sure that the chosen wine is red because it contains a high content of tannins, almost absent in white wine, which serve to moderate the typical pasty taste of chestnuts.
Which wine to choose
After this brief premise, then what is the ideal wine to drink with chestnuts? Certainly there are some essential features to be considered to define an excellent wine to drink with chestnuts: it is better if it is a young wine, better still if it is new or even slightly sparkling to clean your mouth. Some typical examples are:• the Lambrusco di Sorbara• Sangue di Giuda• Bonarda e• Barbera del Monferrato.
But that’s not all … other perfect Italian wines are a Rosso Piceno Doc, a Schiava del Trentino or even a Lagrein. However, if chestnuts are cooked as desserts, such as a chestnut flour cake, a raisin wine is better such as Pantelleria Passito Moscato or Bianco Greco. Instead, if you prepare a castagnaccio (typical chestnut cake) the ideal is to use the famous Vin Santo of Tuscany.