The sweet chestnut is a very special tree: once brought to Val Bregaglia by the Romans, it found widespread use here. Its nuts could be used as a staple food, as cereals grew rather sparsely in mountain regions. In addition, the chestnut can be preserved well: In Bregaglia, the fruit is traditionally dried in the "cascine", small smoking huts. In this state they can also be processed into flour.
The various preparations of chestnuts still characterise the Bregaglia cuisine today: sometimes as whole fruits or as tagliatelle in a side dish, in cakes and small pastries as a dessert or fresh from the fire as "Marroni", which characterise the autumn atmosphere everywhere in Switzerland. Today, healthy chestnuts are celebrating a revival in modern cooking: they are gluten-free and suitable for allergy sufferers, and they also contain many vitamins and minerals.
There are various ways of approaching the chestnut in Bergell, and we would like to introduce you to these here.
Between Soglio and Castasegna there is a large chestnut grove. In spring the trees are in blossom and exude a sweet fragrance, in summer the chestnut crowns provide cool shade, in autumn the forest delights us with its fruits. If you want to know more about the chestnut, follow the chestnut nature trail. It's just a 60 minute round walk from Castasegna through the Brentan.
In fall, the Bregaglia Valley celebrates the Chestnut Festival, this year from 26 September to 24 October 2020. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the chestnut: Over four weeks there will be interesting guided tours, delicious tastings and varied walks, concerts, readings and lectures about the chestnut.
Everywhere in Bregaglia Valley you can try fine chestnut specialities: In the restaurants you can find delicious pasta, in the pasticcerie fine cakes and everywhere in the small village shops different chestnut products. If you want to try the taste of the valley from home: visit our shop.bregaglia.ch!