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October 17, 2010

Up the Bell-Tower

Filed under: Uncategorized — Darren & Malcolm @ 7:06 pm

This Sunday has seen the second week of the chestnut festival.  As part of the festival many of Vellano’s local attractions have an open day.  One of these is to climb the steps of the church bellfry at the village Pieve.  A Pieve is a church outside the walls of a town or city that caters for the souls of the people of the land, while those in the town had their own church.  Often the Pieve churches are very grand and spectacular, because in olden times it was hard for the Catholic church to attract country people from their more ‘pagan’ ways.  The churches were built as an inspiration to convert and/or to attend church.

The bell-tower is 36 metres high, standing above the steep valley below.  For me, Malcolm, this climb was near terrifying.  The stairs opening out into large open windows all round the tower, made for a dizzying experience.  However the reward was some spectacular views and angles on the village of Vellano and the countryside around.

Finally, as promised, Necci!  Chestnut pancakes, savoury or even better sweet.  You can fill these with anything you like but here at the festival you could have them with ricotta or chocolate filling.  Absolutely delicious and with a very nutty flavour.  So here is recipe to make them at home.


  • 250g of chestnut flour
  • salt
  • 250 ml water
  • 300g of very fresh ricotta
  • milk
  • virgin olive oil
  • honey


Sieve chestnut flour add a pinch of salt and 250ml water. Work the mixture in a bowl with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, fairly liquid paste. Cover and rest for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile, mash 300g of very fresh ricotta with a fork, add 2 tbsp of milk and mix quickly. Ladle some pancake mixture into a hot, non-stick pan that has been brushed with a little extra virgin olive oil. Cook on both sides and repeat until all the batter has been used.

To serve

Spread the ricotta on the pancakes and drizzle with good honey.

Serves 6.

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