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Traditional chestnut cultivar quality assessment as a tool for food-tourism development in Tuscany Appennine mountain area.

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Predieri S., Gatti E., Magli M., Bertazza G., Drago M.S., Antonio R. “First European Conference on Wine and Food Tourism”. Volterra (Pisa), Italy, 13-15 April 2011.

Consumer appreciation of typical food is a critical success factor for food tourism. Presently tourism shows an increasing interest in connecting geographical location and food, and a renewed interest in traditional chestnut varieties has been recently reported. A study on quality of local chestnuts was carried out in Ortignano Raggiolo (Arezzo), a mountain area of the Apennine Mountains, between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna Regions, having a very old tradition of chestnut cultivation. Chestnut ecotypes of the area (Perelle, Raggiolane, Selvatiche, Pistolesi, Mondistolle, Tigolesi and Marroni), were collected and subjected to studies on quality. Sensory evaluation, performed on boiled fruits, was determined on the basis of attributes such as peelability, firmness, sweetness, sourness, flouriness, pastiness, astringency and aroma. An expert panel defined different profiles for the tested chestnuts and selected those having the highest eating quality. Pistolesi was the most appreciated variety because of the easy peelability, good firmness, high sweetness, and low astringency, sourness and flouriness. Raggiolane had the best evaluation in terms of aroma and pastiness, and a high level of sweetness. Also Tigolesi had a very positive evaluation by judges. Further evaluations were performed comparing the flour of Pistolesi, Raggiolane, Tigolesi and a commercially available chestnut flour. A typical chestnut-based traditional cake, named “Castagnaccio”, was prepared. Flours from typical production area produced very high quality cakes, while the cake obtained from commercial flour had a poorer evaluation for most sensory traits. Chemical analysis revealed for chestnuts of the Ortignano Raggiolo area high nutritional values in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, starch and fibre, and an elevated content of potassium. The cultivars studied contained low concentrations of saturated fatty acids, and high of the healthier unsaturated fatty acid. Sensory profiles and nutritional traits could be of help in characterization and promotion of local chestnuts as a tool to increase tourism interest and affection for the territory.

 

Keywords: chestnut, sensory analysis, food quality, food tourism.

 

 

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