26th March is very late in the season for roasting chestnuts but at Aristo's yesterday afternoon that is precisely what was on offer to a lucky few.
Natale, one of the masters of roasting chestnuts showed just why he is so famous in the whole valley for his roast chestnut technique.
He brought along a bag containing the last chestnuts of the season still warm from the fire. No need to peel them as Natale's roasting method meant that they were perfectly cooked and ready to eat.
There are various methods that people try to preserve the chestnuts well past the autumn and into the winter. Some try burying them in glass demijohns and flasks in an attempt to keep them fresh. Others have even tried imitating the squirrels and edible dormice* in this area who store the nuts inside hollow trees wrapped up in moss but the most widely used technique (and the one that Natale used even he didn't want to admit to it in public) was storing them in the deep freezer.
*The edible dormouse or fat dormouse (Glis glis) is a small dormouse and the only species in the genus Glis. It was farmed and eaten by the ancient Romans, from which it gains its name. The dormice were kept and raised either in large pits or (in urban surroundings with not a lot of space) in terra cotta containers, not completely unlike contemporary hamster cages. The dormice would finally be cooked and eaten, usually as a snack. source