Chestnuts

Sweet chestnuts are a major product of the regional natural park of Haut-Languedoc. Eaten fresh in the autumn, they are also dried for use throughout the year. The traditional method for drying chestnuts is the “secadou” - a small drystone building of two levels. The bottom level holds a fire, maintained as glowing embers rather than flames for two to three weeks. The chestnuts are spread out on a drying rack on the upper level to be dried by the rising heat.

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Traditionally chestnuts formed a staple part of the diet of both people and animals. A heavy bread was made from chestnut flour, and became gradually associated with poverty - more wealthy people being able to afford bread made with wheat flour. Thanks to the increased availability of wheat flour, chestnut bread is these days a very rare speciality and prized once more!

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