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Via Cesarano 5
Sorrento.
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TRADITIONAL RECIPES TYPICAL PRODUCTS LIST OF RESTAURANTS
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Castagna del vulcano di Roccamonfina
(Volcano Roccamonfina chestnut)


At the beginning of the 1400s the Franciscan San Bernadino da Siena, accompanied by San Giacomo Delia Marca, made a pilgrimage to Roccamonfina in the province of Caserta to pay homage to the Madonna dei Lattani. When the monk arrived at his destination, he thought about building a convent in the area and, in order to find out God's will he planted his dry chestnut-wood stick in the ground and it immediately sprouted. An ancient legend explains thus the origins of chestnut growing in the area of the Roccamonfina Volcano and in Monte Santa Croce, where that ancient tree of the Tempestiva variety is still alive and where the chestnut has long been a fundamental economical as welt as a social and environmental resource.

Volcano Roccamonfina Chestnut - Typical products - Sorrento Italy


Definite evidence of the cultivation of this species in the territory dates from 1800 and consists of some ledgers from farms in Conca Delia Campania, which talk about the sale of "tempestive". At the moment the preliminary studies for the application for IGP recognition (Protected Geographical Indication) are in progress. The IGP label includes nine communes in the Alto Casertano area, between the Garigliano and Volturno rivers. The vast crater of the Roccamonfina Volcano gives high quality produce: the surrounding soil is particularly fertile and rich in principal mineral elements that help to produce chestnuts of exceptional quality. The rest is done by the exposure to the sun that makes the fruit ripen early. The most widely cultivated varieties in the area are the Tempestiva, Napoletana, Paccuta and the Lucida which, separately or together, characterise the different rural areas from Roccamonfina to Conca da Marzano and Teano. The Tempestiva or Primitiva or Precoce di Roccamonfina is the most common cultivar in the area. Thanks to the excellent conditions provided by the position and nature of the terrain, ripening begins in early September and ends after about twenty days. Being one of the earliest varieties in Italy, it opens the chestnut season and is marked out for the production of roast chestnuts: an outlet that usually ensures good prices. The fruit are medium-sized and with the typical chestnut shape, one flat side and the other convex, the pericarp is dark chestnut-brown with slight streaks, the flesh is firm and sweet. The Napoletana or Riccia, the second most common variety for cultivated surface area after the Tempestiva, ripens from about the 20th of September to the beginning of October. It is considered an excellent variety for the quality of its regular-shaped, medium-sized fruit. The Paccuta or Paccona, mainly cultivated in the Teano area, has large, very regular-shaped fruit which ripen medium-early, whereas the Lucida or Lucente is not very common but present in small quantities all over the area and has nice, regular, medium-sized fruit that is not very sweet. In recent years, thanks to favourable market trends, the cultivated area of the Volcano di Roccamonfina chestnut has increased, and subsequently so has production. It has risen from about 14,000 quintals in 1990 to over 20,000 quintals (more or less 50% of the whole provincial harvest), of which half generally goes to processing industries and fresh consumption whilst the other half is exported.


 

 
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