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Slow Food Christmas

neveappennino_pistoiese From December 4 to 12, the Tuscan town of Cutigliano is hosting ‘Natale Slow’ – a food and wine festival in association with Italy’s famed Slow Food movement. Cutigliano is a small village town dating back to Medieval times. It is near the larger, better-known Pistoia, near the Apennines. With under 1700 inhabitants, it is a stunning place to explore as you work your way through the local foods being showcased. And to ensure you don’t get the guilts for too much indulgence, there is also play to be had on the ski slopes of the Doganaccia ski resort. There’s over 10 kilometers to cross and two cross country circuits to try your sled and snow tubes at. Or if you prefer, you can just stick to working your way through the sweets on hand! castagnaccio Chestnut flour desserts are just one category of the bevy of gastronomic delights being offered. One typical must-try chestnut flour dish is Castagnaccio – made from chestnut flour, and spiced with raisins, pine nuts and sage, it is a typical Tuscan Christmas sweet. There are two versions the modern castagnaccio and a much older peasant variety that uses whole, boiled chestnuts. The ancient Castagnaccio recipe brings the concept of ‘slow food’ to a whole other level, as you’ll need to boil the chestnuts first, before painstakingly peeling each one. The result is a good, traditional Tuscan dessert for those who don’t like their sweets too sweet, and which is great also for people with gluten allergies. For more information on the Slow Food movement, and what's on in December, click here. Castagnaccio Antico – Ancient chestnut flour recipe Ingredients:
  • 600 g boiled chestnuts, peeled
  • 5 egg yolks and egg whites, separated
  • 150 g sugar
  • cream
  • optional: brandy or honey
Preparation Mash the peeled chestnuts whilst still hot. Cream 5 egg yolks with the sugar. Mix into chestnut mash and drizzle in the cream, stirring all the while. A dash of brandy or honey can be added if desired. Stop adding in cream once the mixture is moist. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks then carefully fold into the chestnut mix. Once well-blended, pour into a buttered (or oiled) cake tin and cook for 45 minutes at 200°C. Best served hot, and also nice served with whipped cream or gelato, and strawberries. You can also cover with grated chocolate if you like. Guest Post by Jade Farley