Tuscany – “Neccio” flour

by Samuele Sodini

Tuscany Cake

Tuscany Cake

Commonly knows as “chestnut flour”, originates in Garfagnana and it is used by the population as wheat flour is used in the plain areas.
The chestnut is therefore a “bread tree” and its fruits, the chestnuts, “tree bread”.
Although mainly used for polenta, there are various uses for chestnut flour. It was dissolved in a water and coke on the fire between two pieces of metal to form “necci”, eaten with ricotta or cured meats.
It could also be mixed with water, walnuts, orange  peel and oil and coke in the oven to make the famous “castagnaccio”. Today the flour is no longer used daily but its scent and delicate taste can be experienced when you try “necci” or “castagnaccio”.
The fragrant flovours  come alive in the “metato” where the freshly-picked chestnuts are dried. The chestnuts remain in the “metato”, traditionally beate with logs of chestnut wood, for 40 days until they assume the characteristics wich we will enjoy when they are cleaned and trasformed into Garfagnana “neccio flour” now provided of DOP label.

“Castagnaccio” recipe:
For 4 people:
400 g neccio flour
500 g water
30 g crusche walnut
peel of 1 orange (only the yellow part)
rosemary
oil
salt
Add the water to the flour a little at a time,  with a pinch of salt: Mix and pour into a round baking pan to reach a height of 1,5 cm. Drizzle the surface with oil, sprinkle over the nuts, chopped Rosemary and orange peel and cook at 200° for 40 minutes.
Please visit also: Tuscan recipes

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