Veronique uses only three ingredients, sweet chestnuts (castagna) from her family orchard, sugar and vanilla beans, to produce a chestnut jam that is truly heavenly. Veronique uses only enough sugar to bring out the rich chestnut flavor, and the vanilla complements the flavor of the chestnuts. This stuff is great for your toast and scones, and it would make a perfect filling for some crépes.
The Mediterranean island of Corsica, "la montagne dans la mer", the mountain in the sea, is located within reach and on a clear day, sight, of Sardinia and Tuscany. Although it has been a part of France for over 200 years, Corsica shares much with Sardinia and Tuscany with respect to the characteristics of its truly spectacular food products - indeed, the Corsican language shares a great deal with that native to Tuscany.
Corsica is a land of traditions perpetuated since time immemorial, with historical influences from the Greeks, the Saracens of North Africa and the Romans. Its agriculture has been intertwined with a broad Mediterranean trade since antiquity. This heritage lives on and today Corsica is a rich source of artisanal foods, presented to you with Corsican pride.
Rugged Corsica is a land of small traditional farms where the olive, the chestnut, and the Clementine reign supreme. Goats and sheep dot the rugged landscape of forest and maquis - the rocky scrub that is referred to as heather in many other countries.
Probably the most significant fruit in Corsica is the chestnut. Chestnuts have long been used in many dishes and in many ways. They are also milled, for although there was always a certain amount of grain production, the chestnut is a prolific producer. Chestnuts grow in many parts of the island, but are especially concentrated in the Castagniccia region. Indeed the tree, the castagna, gives its name to the place. Chestnut flour was used to make bread and pastries as well as in other ways in the kitchen. They are excellent in stews and other forms of slow cooking. Chestnuts are used, as the Americans would say 'from soup to nuts'. Chestnut deserts abound: doughnuts, tarts, cakes, preserved in eau de vie and of course excellent chestnut jam.
Veronique Leoni has been making preserves for more than 10 years using sweet Corsican chestnuts found in abundance in the family-owned orchards in Zevacu, located in the high Taravu valley of southern Corsica. She also uses the famed Corsican clementines, figs and citron to produce other unique artisanal jams. Originally she only sold her preserves in local markets and fairs, but it is practically impossible to keep a good thing secret, and eventually the word of her delicious preserves spread to the mainland. Now they can be found in the specialty food stores of Paris - probably the most discriminating marketplace in the world. We feel lucky to have been able to secure a small supply.
Veronique makes her preserves according to traditional recipes. All her Casa di Castagna products are handmade in small batches. They have a minimum 55% fruit content - this qualifies them as "extra" preserves. Her preserves are prepared without additives or preservatives using carefully selected fresh fruits, free of any pesticide or chemical treatment. The outstanding quality and natural origin of these products is certified by a French Ministry of Agriculture accredited laboratory.