For centuries, the chestnut tree has fed generations’ worth of Lunigiana natives with its fruits, which were dietary staples for rural populations, helping them out of famine and poverty. Because these trees provided such a foundational part of the local diet, they were called alberi del pane – bread trees.
For the flour to earn the PDO designation (Farina di Castagne della Lunigiana DOP), the chestnut drying process must take place on a slow flame and exclusively using chestnut tree wood, for at least 25 days. The texture—velvety to the touch and fine to the palate—is due to its slow and constant milling, carried out with stone grinders.
Lunigiana DOP chestnut flour is known for its pronounced, sweet taste, which derives primarily from the type of chestnut tree cultivated and the particular climate characteristics of the territory in which it grows. The DOP production zone is in the Massa Carrara province and includes the territories of the following municipalities: Aulla, Bagnone, Casola in Lunigiana, Comano, Filattiera, Fivizzano, Fosdinovo, Licciana Nardi, Mulazzo, Podenzana, Pontremoli, Tresana, Villafranca in Lunigiana and Zeri.
This flour is very versatile in cooking and can be used to prepare pasta, bread and sweets including castagnaccio, also called pattona (a type of seasonal chestnut cake), pan fritters, lasagne bastarde and marocca bread.