We're nuts for chestnuts.....

Written by Lisa Baggio — May 22, 2015

 

"Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts."

- Anonymous

Most Italians who migrated to Australia will have strong childhood memories of castagne (chestnut) festivals in their piazza (town square). As the weather gets colder and Winter is looming chestnuts are in abundance throughout Italy and ready for harvest. The month of October will be filled with chestnut festivals all over Italy, to celebrate the humble chestnut. There will be communal roasting fires, music, dancing, food and wine. Below is a short video of a festival in Italy that will give you a taste for la castagna in festa! Click on the image below to view. 
 
Still not convinced? Maybe Melbourne's newest and iconic Nonna Paola can convince you to get yourself some chestnuts to roast. Enjoy her latest YouTube Video.
 
 

~ How to roast chestnuts ~

Chestnuts need to be rinsed and dried before roasting, and a small slit or cross must be made in the skin or they will burst. Most methods of roasting will take approximately 8-10 minutes. Once roasted, wrap the chestnuts in a tea towel to keep warm. Enjoy!

~ Getting started ~

Are you convinced now? If you are, here's what you need to get you started. It's so simple.... all you need are the chestnuts and some basic equipment. 
 
We can highly recommend purchasing your chestnuts from Alpine Chestnuts. You can source Alpine Chestnuts directly from the Hawthorn Farmer's Market and the Abbortsford Farmer's Market. Alernatively, you can purchase them directly from the farmer, John by contacting him on 0423 286 720 and picking up the chestnuts in Kew or at his farm in Myrtleford. John will also deliver free within a 5km radius of Kew. You can currently purchase Alpine Chestnuts for $6.00 per kilo. The chestnut season will be over within four to five weeks, so don't delay!
 
We highly recommend the purchase of a chestnut cutter that will gently slice the chestnut, without slicing your finger, as so many of you would have already experienced previously with a knife. 
 
Our Italian made 'Napoli' electric pizza oven will roast your chestnuts to perfection in 8-10 minutes, not to mention cook a delicious pizza in 5 minutes, reaching temperatures up to 470 degrees. John from Alpine Chestnuts is a big fan of our electric pizza oven, using the pizza ovens to roast his chestnuts at the Farmer's Markets and festivals throughout Melbourne. In fact, to quote him, "the pizza oven is as good as any other roasting chestnut method." 
 
Or for the more traditional method of chestnut roasting methods if you don't live in Italy and can't attend your local piazza for the communal roasting, get yourself a chestnut roasting pan with wooden handle, and roast your chestnuts over a gas stove, or over a fire. 
 

~ Recipe ~

For the already converted chestnut lovers, you may want to try out an Italian Lentil and Chestnut Stew Recipe that I found on the net at closetcooking.com. Looks delish!
 

~ Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival ~ 

On behalf of the team I would like to congratulate the City of Darebin for hosting another wonderful Darebin Homemade Food and Wine Festival. It was a week long celebration of homemade food traditions and sustainable food practices. The workshops and demonstrations through the suburbs of the City of Darebin were mostly booked out and there was a massive attendance at the "Meet the Makers Showcase" on the Saturday to conclude the festival. 

I would also like to congratulate all the winners of the "Judge's Choice" and "People's Choice" who entered their homemade wine, beer, passata, olives and ajvar. Too many to name them all, but here's a snapshot. 

A very big welcome to all the new subscribers to our newsletter from the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival. l look forward to keeping you up to do with all the exciting news from the team, events, courses, recipes and products and specials. 

Congratulations to STEVE BARNETT winner of our raffle from at "Meet the Makers Showcase" on Saturday. Steve is the proud new owner of a Sausage & Salami Equipment Kit and Hot Continental Sausage Kit, valued at $158.00. Enjoy Steve!   

 For the Red Wine Category -

Mayor of City of Darebin, enjoying a taste of 3rd Place Winner, Nero D'Avola by Dennis and Kevin

1st Prize - Pasquale Scaringi (Petit Verdot)

2nd Prize - Francesco Costanzo (Merlot)

3rd Prize - Denis Slaviero (Nero DÁvola)

For the White Wine Category -

2nd Place Winners, Paolo and Dennis Mazzocato for the White Wine Category for their Waltham/Sultana Wine

1st Prize - Frank Galati (White Muscato)

2nd Prize - Paolo Mazzocato (Waltham/Sultana)

3rd Prize - Jose Jimenez (Maluasia)

For Beer - 

Joel Ellis, 1st Prize and People's Choice Award for his Brettanoyces Fermented American IPA

Encouragement Award - James Price

1st Prize - Joel Ellis

For Passata (Cooked)

1st Prize - Emmanuella Coco

2nd Prize - Jim and Kerry

For Passata (Uncooked)

1st Prize - Maria Spagnolo

2nd Prize - Catherine Talarico

3rd Prize - Rosario Iannella

Here are a few highlights from the day:-

Wine tasting at the Meet The Makers Showcase

Feta Cheese Making Workshop with Cade Butler

Home Brew for Beginners Workshop with Home Make It's Cade Butler and Justin from Merri Mashers

Enjoying the wine tasting at the Meet the Makers Showcase

Enjoying the home brew sampling at the Meet the Makers Showcase

If you would like see more photos from the day, check out our Facebook Page for the complete album. 

~ What's On ~ 

Salami & Cured Meats Courses & Sausage Making Courses

With Winter just around the corner, it's time to book into our Salami and Cured Meats Courses. Our resident butchery expert, James Mele will give you the confidence to make your own salami and safely cure your salumi before the Winter is out. Our courses are hands on, fun and interactive. Numbers are capped so don't miss out! For convenience, they are offered at two store locations, Reservoir and Clayton. Bookings ONLINE.

 

We have also released new dates for our Sausage Making Courses at both our Reservoir and Clayton stores. James Mele will teach you everything you need to know to make fresh, tasty, healthy sausages all year round. Book ONLINE

 

Click on our sale banner below for this week's specials.   

~ Facebook & Twitter ~

Keep up to date with all the daily news from the team, recipes and events by following us on Twitter or Facebook.

Have a great weekend and happy chestnut roasting :)  

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