R_T_Cooperativa-Il-RIccio-s.c.-(2)

“The packet of roasted chestnuts must be eaten in company, shared, like all the operations needed for this special fruit”
Maria Badery

There was a brisk flick of the wrist that would allow the chestnuts to lose their skins by rubbing against the sides of the basket, and the cleaned ones would then all land up on top of the pile. There used to be a mezzanine area, under which to light a fire to dry out fruits. The chestnut museum contains the memories of traditional working which stand side by side with modern laboratory instruments in the Il Riccio cooperative, on the upper floors. The company machines are in operation in the evening, when the volunteers have the time to work on production. Work is divided equally among the approx. 40 members, in proportion to the amount of product assigned. As in the past, men are responsible for harvesting, still done by hand, the women weigh the product, divide it into the different types, brush, package and sew up the sacks. Il Riccio produces about 30 000kg of chestnuts a year. Part of these are sold fresh, part are worked: they are dried, canned, sliced into flakes or made into flours and creams. Although some technical aspects of production have changed due to mechanisation, what remains from the tradition of this production is the warm heart, the natural trend to gather around a warm hearth where chestnuts are roasting. ©Dispensa