Chestnuts – When this area was hit by famine, it was the food ingredient that kept many people alive. Dried chestnuts ground into flour is still known in Garfagnana as "the poor mans flour". One of the most delicious dishes that can be found during the winter months in Barga is polenta di neccio – polenta made with chestnut flour often accompanied by ossi di maiale – pork bones.
It has to be said that it is not a pretty looking dish but the combination of highly salted bones and sweet chestnut is something to savoured. Last night at the Altana restaurant in Barga Vecchia polenta and ossi were on the menu.
It has to be said that this is a meal not to be taken lightly – do not expect to get on your bike and cycle up to Tiglio after a couple of plates of polenta and bones. The real heavy eaters follow this up with fried polenta and riccotta (this evening Camila at the Altana added in some walnuts just to give that little kick to the recipe)