Geo & Geo
First broadcast date
Documentary on recipes and traditions associated with the chestnut of Canepina (in the province of Viterbo) and the production of hazelnuts in Caprarola .
Paolo Santini, resident of Canepina, recalls the tradition of chestnut wood barrels. Luigi Cervello, a teacher at the Hotel Management School of Caprarola gives a course on the risotto with hazelnuts .
Bernardino De Marino a, headmaster talks about hazelnut cakes. Images of the hazelnut feast in Caprarola.
RAI - RAI Tre
- Society and way of life / Cooking
Credits / Cast
- Bonfiglioli Anna - Author of original work
- Italy - Centre - Canepina
- Italy - Centre - Caprarola
Warning: rights expire in the fourth term of 2013.
The film looks at two towns in the province of Viterbio, Canepina and at Caprarola, and shows that past habits and customs can still be relevant in 2010. The age-old practise of picking fruit seems still very much alive. Men, women and children still go into the woods to pick the many fine foods that grow there wild: cut branches, herbs, mushrooms, fruit. People have now started planting the wild species in their gardens. Wild strawberries have thus become farmed strawberries, grown under plastic. Chestnut trees are now grafted to produce better fruit and hazel nuts are also cultivated. For today old customs are associated with new methods of growing and treating the harvested crop. Grafting, pruning, cutting the undergrowth are all done with modern machines. Same for the treatment, the selection and the packing of the products which is now all done in factories.
Beyond thge nostalgia for old fashioned customs, the film also aims to publicize local "wild" products. It emphasises the health-giving qualities of the hazel-nut, boasts its conservation possibilities and the ways "old" products can be used in the modern world, before showing us the great diversity of uses. The chestnut and the hazel nut provide many gastronomic products: glazed and candied chestnuts, nougat, crunchy biscuits, bread, liqueurs, syrup, oil, cakes, tarts, soups, risotto with hazel nuts. The trees also provide wood for individual property owners. Resistant to wet and rotting, the wood of the chestnut tree is used to make barrels, windows frames and shutters.
In Europe chestnut growing is declining. Since the beginning of the 20th century its use as a "bread tree" has been less appreciated, particularly with the on-set of a more productive agriculture, the opening of trade and markets, the cultivation of new products like the potato. In Corsica and the Cevennes the chestnut groves abandonned by men are gradually returning to the wild. In Italy the chestnut tree occupies more than 10% of the national forest, of which only 3% are useful for growing marketable chestnuts. This decline is gathering speed because growing chestnuts is threatened by the spread of the new disease, chancre, like a canker, added to the advance of the older disease called encre. Beyond the trees, the fruits themselves are attacked by parasites and insects, notably the codling moth and the Balagne. In Italy since 2002 a new killer has arrived from imported Chinese the grafting stock: a Chestnut gall wasp.
Despite these problems there is actually a reverse of the trend and a renewal in interest for the chestnut. With an average annual production of 60,000 tons, Italy remains the world's third biggest chestnut producer and the biggest in Europe. The country possesses the largest area of cultivation with many regions: Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia, Tuscany, Latium, Campania. By leaning on the media, the producers, local players and elected representatives are trying to develop and also promote the economic (fruit and wood), landscaping, gastronomic and touristic potential of the chestnut grove. By showing the hazel nut festival at Caprarola, the magnificent villages and landscapes, the renewal and modernisation of older traditions, the great gastronomic potential of the hazel and chestnut, the way that collective upkeep of the woods prevents forest fires and protects the soil, the film becomes part of this movement of developing and promoting the region of Latium.
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