Chestnut flour is very nutritious but is gluten-free, so it is great for coeliacs (people with a gluten allergy).It is a very natural product, organic, and it can be bought in many supermarkets or delicatessen.
In the days when people living in mountain areas were poor and could not always have access to wheat flour, it provided a very good substitute for bread and the chestnut trees were plentiful. There always used to be a mill in villages.
Nowadays, people choose to use chestnut flour because it is organic and has its roots in traditional fare. It is a genuine “produit du terroir” and people like to keep traditions going and to eat local produce.
The reason why it has to be cooked by men is because it requires a lot of strength to stir it and cook it: that is when “polenta” ⊗ is being prepared in huge cooking pots. (The rest of the time, for other dishes, women cope quite well!)
It it then cut in thick slices, also by men, using a piece of thread. Served with a “figatellu” (special liver sausage made from local black pigs, often reared on a diet of chestnuts) which has been grilled in a big fireplace over embers, it is a staple of Corsican gastronomy. Usually a strong red wine accompanies this dish. Autumn and Winter evenings in the mountains of Corsica can be quite cold and this type of dish will warm you up. Added to the convivial atmosphere of a big gathering of friends and family, it is great.
Chestnut flour is used in a variety of dishes, including cakes,tarts,flans, pancakes and fritters. It is sometimes mixed in equal parts with wheat flour for cakes. It is also used in soups to thicken them.
Diluted with water but served with milk it is a sort of porridge, to be eaten in the evening as a main course, not for breakfast.
Its aroma evokes Corsican cuisine perfectly.
Note: ⊗ not to be mistaken for maize polenta