Sunday, 26 October 2008
Chestnut collecting in the Calabrian countryside.
I spoke to bel ragazzo this morning. He said the sun was shining, the air was crisp and clean, the sky was a brilliant blue and he was just about to leave for a day of chestnut picking with the family. Yes - obviously he is still in Malito, still traipsing around the Calabrian mountainside having a jolly old time.
I told you here that the family has many old houses in the Malito old town centre and in the countryside (one of them which we want to restore.) I have also said in the past that when ever I am in Malito I am always told of new 'plots of land' the family seem to own. (In small villages, people often live in the town centre, and then have numerous plots of land, old houses, or storage sheds in the countryside where they generally grow vegetables, maybe have some animals, store the year supply of wine, oil, bottled tomatoes etc... - when I say countryside I do not mean far away in the country...I just mean outside of the town centre, down the road really, which they call the campagna.)
I asked bel ragazzo where they were going chestnut collecting and he said they were going to their plot of land which is full of chestnut tress... Ahhh..what plot of land with chestnut trees? I had never heard of this chesnutted plot of land. Oh, that's because I have never been there. There is no real road to get there. This particular plot of land is above Malito and is in the middle of other peoples land, so you have to leave the car at a certain point, open the locked gate and then walk to your section. Ok. Got it.
Bel ragazzo says he'll take me there when I get to Malito in mid-November...I was so excited as I have never been chestnut collecting before (I know you just pick them up off the ground, but for someone who has never done it, I imagine it would be fun!) Bel ragazzo however kindly pointed out it will be to late for chestnut picking when I get there. Oh. Ok...but surely there will be other wild things to collect? I missed the chestnut collecting, I missed the mushroom hunting, I missed the preparation of the years supply of bottled tomato...I have to do some research into what one does in November and December...When is it asparagus season? Wild chicory perhaps?