Castaña de Galicia PGI is a chestnut obtained from local Galician cultivars of the European chestnut tree, Castanea sativa Miller
The production area of Castaña de Galicia PGI covers the Autonomous Community of Galicia, only in the lands which satisfy the suitable climatic conditions for the cultivation of chestnut tree.
Castaña de Galicia PGI is cropped in chestnut groves located in grounds rich in organic material with a low pH and a low content of active limestone: ideal for the cultivation of chestnut tree. The fruit is harvested by hand within 48 hours from its spontaneous fall and put in suitable containers which allow the appropriate ventilation. It is stored in warehouses within 48 hours from harvesting and then it undergoes the selection, cleaning and weighing processes. A part of harvesting is frozen to extend the duration of conservation. The maximum number of fruits per kilogram amounts to 120 for the fresh product, and 200 when frozen.
Appearance and Flavour
In general, Castaña de Galicia PGI has a number of fruits which is lower than or equal to three. The pericarp is thin and bright brown in colour with a fine episperm which penetrates easily the seed and is easy to remove. It has a sweet flavour and a compact and floury consistency.
The history of Castaña de Galicia PGI boasts ancient origins. Indeed, the chestnut tree can be fund in Galicia in the Pleistocene epoch, however its cultivation dates back to the Roman domination. The crop had a further expansion in the Middle Ages thanks to the interest of both clergy and aristocracy. In this period new and many local high-quality varieties were identified. Evidence of the prestige of the Galician chestnut in the Middle Ages can be found in the documents stored in the area's monasteries and in many books such as the From Paris to Cadiz by Alexander Dumas in 1847, and also in the book La Galice: Essai géographique d'analyse et interprétation d'un vieux complete agrarie by Abel Bouhier. There are also many recalls to the festival of magosto, a popular feast celebrated in many Galician areas, also mentioned by Manuel Murguía in 1865, in the Historia de Galicia. Some recipes based on this chestnut were gathered by Manuel Puga y Parga in the book La Cocina Práctica, of 1905, and by Álvaro Cunqueiro in La Cocina Gallega of 1973.
Castaña de Galicia PGI has to be stored in dry and well-ventilated rooms or in freezer to keep unaltered its peculiar organoleptic features. Thanks to its characteristics, it can be eaten raw, cooked or dry. Amongst the many gastronomic recipes with this chestnut, we can mention local Galician dishes such as the chestnut pie, the boar meat with chestnuts and the peculiar Castañas con leche dessert, which is made with chestnuts, milk, water, fennel, sugar, salt and cinnamon or chocolate, if preferred.
The product is sold as Castaña de Galicia PGI, fresh or frozen. It is sold raw in net, raffia or cloth packaging, and frozen in allowed food containers with weights of 500 gr, 1 kg, 2.5 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg, 15 kg, 20 kg and 25 kg. Other formats are also allowed, but only if they do not change the quality of the product.
Castaña de Galicia PGI owes its organoleptic qualities to the particular climatic conditions of the area, such as the mild temperatures typical in the period of development and growth of chestnuts, in addition to a right humidity level that favours the high content of humidity of the fruit. The product stands out due to the low percentage of septate which makes peeling easier, the low percentage of waste during the selection phase and the very high content of starch which gives the fruit a sweeter taste after the transformation into sugars.