Monday, 26 October 2009

Aullène & Chestnuts

I’ve only been to Aullène once before many years ago and I suspect it was on a fated trip to Zicavo after a very heavy night out involving a sink plunger, so I have been meaning to go back and explore ‘compos mentis’ for a while.

The Hotel de la Poste was founded in 1880 by one of the Lucchini family, and still remains in the same family today. The hotel has it’s own farm so you can always be assured of good quality local produce. I just liked the old fashioned hand written sign!

I stopped at the church in the centre and had a little wander, looking at all the old stone houses with their coloured shutters.

I hadn’t realised quite how sprawling the village is, and although I remembered it as just a little group of houses clustered round the church, there is actually an epicerie, tobacconist, souvenir shop, a couple of bars, an auberge and hotel as well as speciality shops including ‘sucrées et salées’ where you can get yummy beignets au brocciu (a type of ewes cheese fritters), and a butcher selling local charcuterie (cured meats).

The other attraction of Aullène is chestnuts. At this time of year, the road between Quenza and Petreto-Bicchisano (with Aullène in the middle), is lined with chestnuts that you can make into all sorts of delicious recipes, or just roast them – the smell is heavenly. Always prepared for every eventuality, I had a bag in the car so I decided to stop off and collect a few.

I could hear them falling nearby but didn’t think anything of it until a big one fell and hit me so hard that it impaled itself onto the back on my hand. Those who have never been attacked by a chestnut may not know, but chestnuts are like cactus in that once you remove your hand, they leave some of their spines in. I picked out the biggest but it had managed to hit one of the veins in my hand, so with blood spurting all over the place, a quick visit to the pharmacy seemed in order.

Who would believe a chestnut could be so lethal! Thank goodness it didn't hit me on the head.

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