This area is full of traditions, including the production of chestnut flour. The chestnut flour in this area has obtained the DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta). All products that are DOP must be produced and packaged in their specific place of origin and nowhere else. It's not surprising that Italy is the European country with the most DOP products.
The flour is obtained from an old process of drying and grinding the chestnuts. First, the fruits are stored in a metato, which is a small stone or brick building for drying the chestnuts, where a fire is lit with chestnut wood.
The chestnuts will remain here for 25-30 days and once that time has passed, it's time to remove them, as they're already dry enough to be turned into flour.
They're removed through a tube and put into a machine called a battitore, through which the skin is removed. This machine separates the skin on one side and removes the skinless chestnuts through a hole. In old times, this process was carried out through a ballatura, an operation that consisted of stepping on the partially peeled chestnuts in order to remove the skin completely. It was a celebratory occasion and people danced over them accompanied by popular songs.
Once all the chestnuts are peeled, they're taken to a local mill like the Mulino di Vico, one of the few mills in the area that is still in operation. This mill in particular dates from the late 15th century and works in part thanks to the Acquetta River, which comes from the mountain and provides the energy to grind the chestnuts.
Once in the mill, the process begins in order to turn the chestnuts into flour. This flour has a nutty, sweet and smoky flavor that is unique and to get the DOP they have to follow a series of rules, including being gluten free, having a specific consistency and having a maximum humidity of 7%.