Chestnut  Flour (Piemonte)
Item #: 4730
Our Price: $14.99

Description & Details

500 Grams -Italy
Out of stock until further notice

Piemonte is known for its chestnuts - indeed many end up in France as Marron Glace - and so they are prominent in Piemontese cuisine, especially during the year-end holidays. Chestnut polenta, chestnut crepes and chestnut cake (Castagnaccio) are three of its main uses.

Marino's mill, the so-called organic mill of the Langhe - the enchanting, hilly region around Alba dedicated mainly to viticulture - honors the flour; Flavio, Ferdinando, Federico, Fulvio, Fausto, Filiberto, Francesco, and Felice, the members of the Marino Family, are all devoted to the running of the millstones that have been turning since the first millennium AD.

The Roman agricultural village of the Belbo Valley, along the junction Asti-Savona, was assigned to the Ninth Region of the Roman Empire, named Liguria by the Emperor Augustus. Records have been found from 1001 AD that mention the town of Cossano Belbo. At the time the town was called Coxani, consisting of "cox" (rock) and "sana" (sound), Coxani, the sound rock. The village rose on top of a spur that was dominated by a castle whose walls sheltered the existing stone mill.

The castle was destroyed in1275 and reconstructed two years later. During the turbulent wars of 1553, the French Marshall Brissac Charles de Cossé transformed it into a fortress in order to counter the attack of the Spanish army. After the final victory Brissac was named Gover of Piemonte. Today, what remains of the antique village of Coxani are some parts of the boundary wall and of the fortress with the mill and the old silo. The oldest structures of the mill show the same architectural features as the walls of the castle.

When he was 20 years old, Felice Marino, the son of a farming and baking family, carried sacks of wheat on his shoulders to the mill run by Baldovino Settimio. There he attended the grinding. The old miller did not hesitate to teach him the tricks required to obtain the best flour. Marino had been interested in the mill ever since his sister had married a miller of the Langhe from Mango. He quickly fell in love with the trade. When the old miller Baldovino - already tried by the floods of 1926 and 1948 - was going to retire, Marino purchased the mill in 1955. The mill then had three hydraulically driven millstones at its disposal. So he continued an age-old, ingenious tradition: the almost weekly hammering of the big, circular stones, roughening the stones at the center and smoothing them progressively towards the edge according to the type of flour to grind and thus avoid "burning the corn."

To the question, "why do you favor stone ground products;" Marino's answer was, "because confectioners request it. Up to a few years ago the market trend was to ask for lower and standardized costs. This of course has a negative effect on quality. We have noticed a comeback of the request of natural products among our clients. Therefore we have dusted off the old stones."

Delighted by the perfume of germ, bran and fine bran, cooks and bakers have started to reconsider old, traditional recipes. To satisfy the demand, two more millstones were purchased in 1970. Two precious grindstones from Ferté-Sous-Jouarre came from the old Bona mill that had long since ceased its activity. Felice convinced the authorities that the best use of these stones was not in a museum but in a working mill, where they could satisfy the demand of future generations. Their supply of grindstones grew to eight.

May contain traces of Wheat
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