Corsican Chestnut Flour.The area the Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa is native to covers the Mediterranean basin, but it is Corsica that is historically most strongly identified with the production of chestnut flour. For hundreds of years, Sweet Chestnut growers have selected the sweetest varieties and perpetuated the cultural knowledge to create a great delicacy. Chestnut flour is naturally sweet and incredibly fine. This allows the creation of many dishes, ranging from the traditional pulenta (a Corsican chestnut version of the Italian cornmeal polenta) to the more modern and exotic, like my Chocolate Chestnut Soufflé Cake. It is rich in vitamin C, low in fat and suitable for gluten free diets. Ideally, it needs to be kept in the fridge, and you need to sift it into your mix as it has a tendency to cake into little lumps.
Chestnuts picked up in the carpark at Chenonceau.According to the blurb on the box Liselle brought us (I've translated):
The Chestnut has been inextricably linked for at least 5 centuries to the life of the inland villages of Corsica. Today, chestnut growing is an essential component of safeguarding the cultural heritage, mountain economy and the ecology of the area.Chestnut flour is fairly easy to get in France, with most good supermarkets stocking it. I have also bought it at Halles et Champs in Perusson.
Harvested around mid-October and dried slowly, the chestnuts, belonging to several specific varieties, are shelled, then rigorously sorted and selected before being baked in wood-fired ovens and ground into flour. From their ancestral experience, the producers obtain a chestnut flour characterised by its sweetness, fineness and purity, with a smell and taste of dried chestnut and biscuits.