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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Alessi cuisine



The "succiole" boiled chestnuts or whatever you want to call them

(Le "succiole" ballotte o castagne lesse che dir si voglia)

  • 1 kilogram of local chesnuts (the so called "marroni"), big, very fresh (do not leave them in water for a long time)
  • 6 fresh leaves of laurel
  • a big pinch of fennel seeds
  • cooking salt
Take an appropriate pot, put the chestnuts and then fill it with an amount of fresh water able to cover the chestnuts for, at least, 10 cm. Salt the water, add some laurel and fennel seeds, then put over the heat and let the stuff boil. Adjust the heat for a very slow cooking, cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for 30 minutes, without turning it.
Switch off the heat, leave the chesnuts in the hot water, but you have to remove the chesnuts that melt immediately.
The best way to eat these delicious autumn fruits is the following: hold them with two fingers, bring them to the mouth and divide them into two parts with a bite, then bite very slowly the chestnuts' shell in order to drop directly their pulp into the mouth. This way to eat the chesnuts is so typical, that in an area rich of chestnut trees, like the Mugello valley, the boiled chestnuts are called "succiole" (that means to suck). Till now we have never indicated a specific wine for the above recipes, because we think that the aesthetic theory of the label (normally proposed/mposed by the "sommelier" of the great refreshing industry or of the wine bars) is completely extraneous from the table tradition, where "things" prevail on "speeches".
But we want to make an exception for the boiled chesnuts: as they have a thick pulp, it is very important to drink something in order to eat them. Once there was the "sweet wine", a kind of "mosto" kept in a fresh place without fermenting it, which had a very poor alcoholic content. Today, taking care to the quantity, we suggest the "Vinsanto". This union is simply brilliant.
In this case the boiled chestnut are suggested as a dessert, but if you want, you can eat them linked to a second course, for example with the over mentioned "Roasted goose"; in this case the boiled chestnuts have to be peeled using a knife.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati

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