Chestnut trees started being grown in Appennino Reggiano by Matilde di Canossa, as a remedy to the extreme poverty of the local inhabitants, frequently victims of famine and food shortages.
Since then, the chestnut – previously confined to the nobles’ banquets – became an always-present ingredient among the culinary tradition of poor people in Emilia region, especially among rural inhabitants, for whom it was essential. Easy to preserve and extremely versatile, the chestnut was soon employed for many recipes, both main courses and desserts. In the area of Reggio Emilia, Fritloc and Castagnaccio are among the most appreciated local sweets, the result of an old tradition jealously passed down through generations till today.
Fritloc are fritters made with sugar and high quality chestnuts, a typical Autumn version of Carnival fritters. Castagnaccio Reggiano is an oven-baked cake made with chestnut flour, raisins and pine nuts. A similar traditions can be found in other Italian regions like Tuscany and Liguria, with the addition of rosemary.
The Chestnut from Marola is the flagship of the whole province of Reggio Emilia: a rare and precious chestnut to whom many fairs and Autumn events are dedicated.