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 :)  

We're ready and waiting...for the salami season!

Written by Lisa Baggio — May 29, 2014

With the first day of winter fast approaching, we've been gearing up for the long awaited Salami Season! Although, with all this warm weather we have been having, you would think it was still some weeks off : ) Nevertheless, we're ready for it! Our online store, and Reservoir & Clayton stores are fully stocked with every piece of equipment and supplies imaginable to make the perfect salumi. Our equipment includes Italian-made electric & manual FLB Mincers, FLB Fillers, mixers and vacuum machines. Our supplies include casings, netting, string, prickers, tubes, salt, spices, pepperoni sauce and vacuum bags.   

We learnt last year that Melbourne's (and Australia's) "Salami Army" is growing! So we are fully stocked and ready for an even bigger and better salami season this year. Whether you are buying in bulk or require only a few supplies to get you started, we will cater for your every need!

Salami 101 @ Farm Vigano

It was a full house last Saturday at Salami 101, our salami-making course that was held at Farm Vigano in conjunction with The Meat Room. Our 24 participants enjoyed the atmosphere at the stunning and historic Farm Vigano. They were taken on a tour of the property and given the history of Farm Vigano by co-owner, David Petrilli. The workshop commenced with a butchery and de-boning demonstration of a pig by James and Marcel from The Meat Room. This was followed by a session facilitated by our very own Frank Bovezza who shared all the secrets in the craft of making homemade salami. Our participants were delighted with a spectacular lunch of anipasti, pizza, slow roasted lamb and porchetta, skillfully cooked by the chefs at Farm Vigano. After lunch, it was a hands on workshop involving all the participants as they practiced the art of salami making in small groups. On behalf of Farm Vigano, The Meat Room and Home Make It, we would like to thank all the participants for helping to make the day such a wonderful and memorable experience for all involved. We would especially like to thank the participants who travelled all the way from WA and NSW to attend the course - true Salami Army cadets :)

Below are some highlights from the day. If you would like to see some more photos from the day, click on our Facebook Page for the full album. 

Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival

What a fabulous time had by all at the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival 2014. Home Make It were  major sponsors again of this great event which celebrates the homemade and home-grown produce and skills of the local residents. The festival is a community celebration of food traditions and sustainable food practices. We would like to extend our congratulations to the City of Darebin for their 10 year Anniversary for the Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival. Thousands of people were in attendance over the course of the week, enjoying the atmosphere, sampling and judging the tasty produce and beverages supplied for the competitions, as well as participating in the vast array of workshops on offer that were ran by our expert Home Make It team and other community groups and individuals. If you would like to see all the highlights from our week at the Festival, click on our Facebook page for the full album. 

Here are some images of the day;

Pasta workshop at Preston Market with Elena, Pina, Manuella and Liz

Brew In A Bag Workshop at the Preston Shire Hall with Steve Lamberto

Salami Workshop at the Preston Shire Hall with Steve Lamberto and James & Marcel from The Meat Room

Wine Making and Wine Appreciation by Steve Lamberto at Preston Shire Hall.

To see more pictures from the evening, you can click on our Facebook Page for the full album.  

...and all the festivities and competition winners at the Preston Town Hall. Categories for Judge's Choice and People's Choice included "Best Homemade Wine", "Best Home Brew", "Best Homemade Ajvar", "Best Homemade Passata" and "Best Preserved Olives". The City of Darebin's very own Mayor, Cr. Gaitano Greco was present to present the many awards.   

Melbourne Salami Festa

Home Make It are proud to announce that we will be a Major Partner again of the 2014 Melbourne Salami Festa. Tickets are now selling for the very popular Salami Sessions. Learn the art of salami making at their one day hands on and instructional workshops. Book early to secure your place.


Food & Beverage Courses

We have released new dates for our Winter food and beverage courses, which include our Beer Fest Course, Pizza Making Course, Camembert Cheese Course, Mozzarella Cheese Making Course, Cider Making Course and Salami & Cured Meats Course. Bookings can be made Online with the ease and security of Paypal, or you can book directly with our stores.


Good Food and Wine Show

We will be exhibiting at the Good Food and Wine Show this weekend (Friday 30th May - Sunday 1st June). You'll find us at stand F24, so be sure to come and say hello, and meet the team at Home Make It.  


Check out this week's Specials by clicking the banner below :-  

Have a great weekend :)

Clayton Reservoir