Longal chestnut

Ark of taste
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The introduction of chestnut cultivation in Galicia is linked to the arrival of Roman legions in the first century AD, at the time of Emperor Augustus. Chestnut groves spread considerably, changing the Galician landscape. The fall of the Empire marked the beginning of a period of decline in their management that lasted until the Reconquista, which ended in the late 15th century with the definitive expulsion of the Moorish governments from the Iberian Peninsula.
Longal chestnut is native variety growing from many years, fruits are fresh, healthy, clean appearance, with a firm consistency, free of perforations caused by insect attack, abnormal external humidity, and foreign materials, flavours, and odours. Due to the width/length ratio it is elongated; and because of the position of the widest point, it is oval. Harvesting time is from October to December and is one of the later chestnut varieties in Galician region of Spain and is usually the last of the campaign. It is typical of the extreme southwest of the province of Ourense adapts to areas up to 1,100 meters above sea level. The chestnut tree spread in parallel with the expansion of vines on the hill lands that were being reconquered.
So, chestnuts spread widely across Galicia in the 16th and 17th centuries, giving rise to the development of numerous native varieties adapted to the mountain environments. From the 17th century onwards, chestnuts were sold through a network of markets and fairs that spread throughout Europe. Despite the threat of pathogens, chestnut groves today maintain an important presence in inland regions, where natural conditions are less favourable to the development of diseases.

The importance of chestnut groves is reflected in Ourense and Galician toponymy (place names) and anthroponymy (personal names), as well as in various studies on the Galician agricultural landscape, including Abel Bouhier’s "La Galicia. A geographical essay on the analysis and interpretation of an old agricultural complex" (1973). Alexandre Dumas wrote in his novel Recollections of the Journey from Paris to Cadiz (1847): "France is known for its truffles, Castile for its olives, Catalonia for its plums and Galicia for its chestnuts."
The Longal chestnut produce a very good fruit for the industry due to its conservation and excellent peeling. It is ideal for freezing.
Regarding its organoleptic properties, it stands out for its sweetness since it has a high percentage of carbohydrates compared to other varieties. Thanks to its organoleptic and morphological properties, it is considered one of the best chestnut varieties with great potential to produce an infinite number of derived products.

It has a thin, light-brown, shiny epicarp and a thin episperm that separates easily when the chestnut is peeled. With their sweet flavor and firm texture, they have long been an essential element of Galician Mountain cuisine, eaten roasted or cooked in broth or with milk. However, the Magosto festival, held in November in Ourense, is a famous celebration marking the change in the agricultural cycle. Chestnuts and wine symbolize death and life in this religious festival. Currently, its cultivation extends throughout Galicia, and it is one of the varieties included in the PGI Castaña de Galicia.

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Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Chef Federico López Arcay, A Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa, Relais & Châteaux & IXP Castaña de Galicia