The chestnut

The chestnut (Castanea) is the fruit of the chestnut tree, a genus of plant in the beech family (Fagaceae).
The chestnut tree is distributed throughout the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere and in Europe, more than many other tree species, it has played a vital role, so important that it has earned the nickname 'bread tree'. Known as far back as ancient Greece, the chestnut and the use of chestnut flour was one of the main sources of food and managed to compensate for long periods of time, right up to modern times, for the shortage of cereals. The importance that the fruit has always played in chestnut cultivation in our latitudes is attested to by a whole series of documents that mark its progress over time and show how it influenced the culture of the area.
The Ritten high plateau overlooking the Eisack valley is best suited for growing chestnuts. A single belt of chestnut groves stretches from the Neustift Monastery near Brixen along the slopes of the Eisack Valley to the Ritten high plateau and down into the Bolzano basin to the legendary Runkelstein Castle: an ideal route for the dialectically named 'Keschtnweg' (chestnut trail).
With a total length of 63 km, the 'Keschtnweg' can be walked in several stages. The 17-km stretch from Unterinn am Ritten to Saubach is the longest and probably also the most impressive stage of the entire route.
Especially in autumn, when the chestnut groves are tinged with the most varied colours in a landscape of incomparable charm, the Ritten Chestnut Trail turns into a hiking paradise, amid mixed forests, green meadows and imposing old chestnut trees. Here you are led to places rich in natural monuments that bear witness to a centuries-old culture in legendary locations.
Autumn is also the "Törggelen" season in South Tyrol. Wine shops and farm inns open their doors, serving South Tyrolean delicacies, new wine and of course chestnuts. Chestnuts are the basic ingredient for preparing various dishes, such as hors d'oeuvres, soups, risottos, side dishes and various desserts or simply baked in the oven, always fragrant and tasty enough to make any palate's mouth water.

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