The heart of Prosciutto di Parma is in Langhirano, in the area of Parma. We were in the city for a weekend in the country house, and Sunday morning while sitting at breakfast enjoying the morning, the noise of the house starting to grow, and the smell of coffee boiling in the espresso maker, we decided to go into the center of town to go to the festival. I was thrilled! Naturally a food nerd, as I have given myself that title, was ready to go. We were 8 going into town and every stall we stopped to speak to the people, find out what they were selling, what region in Italy they were from, and to try. The family I was staying with I guess you could compare to my family with their love of food and curiosity. It was perfect! We tried so many different breads, seasonal fruit, cheese, fried breads, and salamis.
I was a little bit ahead of the family because they were asking about a some fruit trees that were for sell. I came upon my absolute favorite, chestnuts, in Italian known as castagna. I went straight over to the stall and there was this man, short and he was shy. I approached with excitement and inside I was a doing a a dance. If you knew how much I love chestnuts. I tried to plan this trip based around the harvest season in a region called Treviso in Italy that their fame is based off of the abundance of chestnuts and festivals in October all for chestnuts. Next time I will have to go! I purchased 3 bags, wishing they were all for me, but I wanted to share with the family my love and excitement to be eating freshly roasted hot chestnuts. The castagna's were incredible to put it simply. Hot, meaty, and a light but powerful chestnut flavor. Chestnuts don't have that much of a flavor if you really dissect it. They break apart into individual chunks in your mouth when you bite down and chew. They are soft so there is not crunch. The flavor is earthy, a hint of mild sweet, and I consider a good way to describe them especially if they are fresh, umami. They have characteristics of the 5th taste. The meatiness of the actual chestnut translates to the flavor as well. Giving you a hearty flavorful profile and coating your mouth with a slight feeling of fat. To put it simple, magnificent.
The festival yes was about Prosciutto, but also the enjoyment of the beautiful regional food items Italy has to offer. I found my favorite and thoroughly enjoyed every one of those chestnuts.