Chestnut of Montella, the sweet heart of green Irpinia

White flesh, thin rind and strong brown colour. Sweet, with an intense woody fragrance. The ancient Greeks called them Jupiter’s acorns. Excellent roasted, they should be “cared for” in a hot water bath for five-six days and then left to dry for storage on a terracotta floor.

They are the chestnuts of Montella, a municipality in the province of Avellino, in Campania, at the foot of Mount Terminio and Cervialto. A paradise for nature walks – don’t miss out on a trip to the Highland of Laceno – and for green tourism connected with food and wine and traditional flavours. Just like those to discover by tasting the chestnuts of Montella; enjoy fresh or dry, or transformed into flour to prepare delicious desserts. Cooked, they are ideal to garnish meat and flavour soups. The cultivation of these chestnuts dates back to the period between VI and V century B.C. At the times of the Lombard invasions the first law was passed to protect this cultivation already considered a precious resource at the time. So precious that it was stored for years in the fortresses as a food reserve, precisely for the characteristics that it keeps its flavour intact guaranteeing the right calorie intake and versatility in cooking.

October and November are the best months for picking chestnuts. The itinerary to discover Jupiter’s acorns starts from the small village of Montella to reach the capital Avellino, where you can visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Irpino Museum. The chestnut woods will be the natural setting for walks in the green heart of Campania. The perfect pairing of chestnuts, made in Irpinia, is with the strong and intense Taurasi, a red wine which impresses from the very first sip, from the first taste it tells of all the sensations of a holiday in Irpinia. Try the local white wines, Greco di Tufo and Fiano…there is sure to be one to suit every palate. 

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