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8 Nat. Heritage.
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The chestnut of Galicia
According to the pollen analysis, the presence of the chestnut in Galicia dates back at least to the Pleistocene. This fruit was the basis of the diet in Europe until the arrival of the potato and the maize in the sixteenth century, period in which it lost prominence in the rural kitchens. The culture and popular tradition gave them some utilities and meanings throughout the history and they were even used as magic amulets.
The druids considered them sacred, although the legions of the Roman Empire introduced its cultivation in Spain, around the first century A.D. Chestnuts were consumed roasted, dried or in the form of flour.
The chestnut of Galicia is one of the best know in Spain, and is appreciated, more and more, by consumers in other countries where it is currently exported. This product, which is recognized under Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), is the fruit of the European chestnut (Castanea sativa) and it is exported to consumers in the most selective markets.
The chestnut of Galicia is highly appreciated due to its size and quality, also its seed vessel is thin, the colour is light brown and shiny. It has also a thin membrane that slightly penetrates into the seed and which can be easily removed from the seed vessel. Another characteristic of the Galician chestnuts is its sweet taste and firm texture which does not taste much of flour.
In the province of Lugo, the chestnuts are grown and harvested throughout the whole province, with the exception of the northern coastal areas.
The Galician quality product is guaranteed by the Regulatory Board which is the Galician Institute for the Agriculture and Food Quality (Ingacal), the institution in charge of carrying out the control and certification of the chestnut regulated under the I.G.P. "chestnut of Galicia".