Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Chestnut (or 'neccio', an ancient local word) flour was, for many centuries, a staple ingredient in the daily diet of the rural people of Garfagnana. Today, 'neccio' flour is used almost exclusively for making sweets. The important role played in the past by chestnuts in the rural economy of this district of the Province of Lucca is documented by several historical sources, including a set of regulations concerning the harvesting and exporting of the fruits of the chestnut tree dating back to 1360. Laws protecting chestnut woods were enacted as early as 1489. Throughout Garfagnana, many ancient structures that house chestnut processing and milling equipment still stand. These buildings (mills and 'metati', traditional chestnut-drying facilities) have such unique architectural and structural features that local building codes ensure their protection and preservation as an expression of the local culture and as evidence of its close links with the environment.
'Neccio' flour is intimately connected with the culinary tradition of Garfagnana. The traditional recipes of this woody sliver of northern Tuscany include chestnut flour 'polenta' (meal), 'manafregoli' (chestnut flower cooked with milk), 'castagnaccio' (oven-cooked pizza made with 'neccio' flour, olive oil, walnuts or/and pine-seed). The local name for what is, in essence, the Garfagnana version of bread, made with chestnut flour, water and salt, is simply 'neccio'.
The label attached to all flour packages includes the following information: a) 'Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana' and, immediately below, the words 'Denominazione di Origine Protetta' (Dop) and an identification logo. Dop means 'Protected Denomination of Origin'; b) First and last name, or company name, of the manufacturer, and the site of the packager (whether it is the manufacturer himself or another concern); c) The amount originally held in the containers, as required by currently applicable metrological regulations. The Dop European Community logo is also printed on the label. The Denomination of Origin can also be extended to cover processed and transformed products in which 'Farina di neccio della Garfagnana' is the major component. Such products, therefore, may be marketed for retail sale in packages bearing references to the Denomination in question, without the European Community logo, on condition that 'Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana Dop' be the exclusive component of the relevant product category and that the users of 'Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana' be authorized by the holders of intellectual property rights conferred by the Denomination registration.
Chestnut flour obtained from local varieties: Carpinese, Pontecosi, Mazzangaia, Pelorosa, Rossola, Verdola, Nerona, Capannaccia
The color of 'Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana' varies from white to dark ivory. Its grain is fine, both to the touch and to the palate
Sweet taste, with a slightly bitter back taste, with the typical scent of chestnuts
Area of production
The area where 'Farina di Neccio della Garfagnana' is produced includes the following Lucca Province Municipalities: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Castiglione Garfagnana, Pieve Fosciana, San Romano di Garfagnana, Sillano, Piazza al Serchio, Minucciano, Camporgiano, Careggine, Fosciandora, Giuncugnano, Molazzana, Vergemoli, Vagli, Villa Collemandina, Gallicano, Borgo a Mozzano, Barga, Coreglia, Antelminelli, Fabbriche di Vallico, Bagni di Lucca
European Registration with EC Commission regulation n. 465/2004 of 03.12.04 published in the European Union Official Gazette L077 of 03.13.04
Source Naturalmente Italiano Web