Autumn in Valdichiana: Chestnut

What a wonderful fruit is the chestnut! Born from imposing trees, sometimes secular and in a small brown shell, resistant but flexible, it contains a soft and sweet heart that at first glance immediately falls in love. This is also the most fitting metaphor to talk about the Valdichiana now that I think of it, in fact, precisely about Foiano della Chiana!

castagneto 1 0Chestnuts, which take so long and transformations to become what they are, tell us about the arrival of autumn and remind us to stop for a moment to observe the colors of this season that in Tuscany are definitely the most beautiful in the world.
Strong browns that touch all the nuances of the terra di Siena with tan, beige and cream to meet with intense reds, oranges and sometimes purple. Visiting Valdichiana during this period is a unique, relaxing, meditative experience full of endless moments of joy.

But let’s go back to chestnut. Beyond its undeniable romantic and suggestive side, the chestnut, you know, is nice. Crackling in the brazier rolling in the “pan with the holes”, becomes swooning after boiling in pot, crunches under the teeth when it is dried and thanks to it, good dishes are cooked with a real, sincere and jovial taste. Chestnuts keep company, aggregate and free us from the hardness that sometimes life imposes on us.

So you can imagine how many celebrations  and festivals in honor of this queen are made in Tuscany! In these links you will find some of the most interesting.

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Valdichiana loves chestnuts and our Tour Operator (Tourism Design Atelier)  even more. So today, to pay homage to the beautiful fruit, we decided to give you a new recipe (the classic ones found everywhere) kindly offered by one of those cooks who besides being passionate about food, supports our work so much to experience for us … and for you.

In addition, if you were lucky enough to pass through the Valdichiana and you happen to stumble upon a wild chestnut tree, then we suggest you pick up a nice fruit and hold it tightly in your hand, it is said that “bring a chestnut in your hand makes the cold pass”.



Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 50 grams of raw ham or bacon
  • A half bunch of Tuscan black cabbage
  • Half a bunch of chard
  • 400 gr. of dried cannellini beans
  • EVO oil q.b.
  • 6 brown chestnuts per person
  • Stale Tuscan bread



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Put the beans to soak the night before and cook them in the cold water in the morning. Chop the onion and ham finely, fry them together in a little EVO oil, then add the chopped and washed cabbage and chard, let it stew and add the salt. Reduce ¾ of the pureed beans and add to the vegetables, let it flavor continuously turning; add the remaining beans and their cooking water now. The water must be abundant, the soup must be flavored well, salt again enough. The soup should be a little thick and will boil slowly for two hours, turning it often. At this point add the chestnuts previously  peeled and boiled in cold water and chopped, let stand an hour. Return to the heat and bring to boiling, boil a few minutes and then switch off. Cut the stale Tuscan bread into slices and make a layer of bread in the plates or in a soup tureen, continuing to the edge of the soup tureen and plate. Sprinkle over a little chopped chestnut and a drizzle of EVO oil.