The local chestnut growers have been very creative, developing many different ways to savour this fruit – chestnut chips, cream, jam, flour, semolina, etc. – to highlight its taste and nutritional virtues.
Our “craftsmen and women of taste” have learnt to use this fruit in many recipes, cakes, cold meats, syrup, liquors, beers, ice-cream etc. so that foodies can enjoy it all year round.
Queen of the Cévennes d’Ardèche!
A delicious heart but somewhat prickly!
In the heart of the Cévennes d’Ardèche, people have been growing chestnut trees on the shale and granite terraces for 800 years, and chestnuts have become the Ardèche flagship product. The Ardeche department is France leading chestnut supplier responsible for over 50% of national production!
Châtaigne or Marron ?
The word “marron” is used to describe a large chestnut formed of a single, undivided fruit, in other words, not split into two by its skin. Bigger and easier to peel, marrons are highly sought after by those who make jam and cakes, especially for marrons glacés (candied, glazed chestnuts).
But don’t get confused! Chestnuts are the fruit of chestnut trees, but a marron, conker or horse chestnut is the fruit of a horse chestnut tree (marronnier d’Inde), and is not edible. The marrons that we eat are, in fact, sweet chestnuts!
Can you smell the roasting chestnuts? Irresistible!
From mid October to mid November, the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional des Monts d’Ardèche beats to the rhythm of “Castagnades”, authentic chestnut festivals.
In the local villages, the autumn Castagnades bring together chestnut growers, craftsmen and women, artists, restaurant owners, those working in the tourism industry and, of course, the local inhabitants. They come together to bring autumn to life in the Monts d’Ardèche and to welcome visitors. Every year, the organisers devise new events and activities based on chestnuts and how to grow and cook them, and also about chestnut wood and its uses. To find out more, visit the Espace Castanea in Joyeuse.