If you love chestnuts and local festivals, and are planning a trip to the Ardeche in October, the best site for info is Castagnades Des Monts d’Ardeche (in french only). It’s a goldmine of the when and where of local programs, weekend events, organized walks, places to visit, cafes/restaurants featuring chestnut menus, and even where you might find lodging within Ardeche’s boundaries.
We were only able to go to Vesseaux’s festival for a quick 20 minutes since we were on the drive back to Italy, but already I was thinking that if we should plan another France holiday, a food festival must be on the itinerary. French food celebrations are as every bit as fun and interesting as the ones here in Italy, yet the best part are the different things you might see at a vendor’s table. I spotted the pastry chef in his crisp white jacket and apron right away. He was slicing up boustcho – a very dark brown loaf that not surprisingly, resembled a gigantic chestnut. Made with 100% gluten-free chestnut flour, butter, chestnut puree and vanilla extract, it has the texture of a light pound cake but with the delicate, sweet flavor of its main ingredient. Delicious. We bought one (12.50€) and as the chef was wrapping our purchase, he suggested boustcho as something for breakfast, tea time or with coffee as a treat. I think these would also make perfect gifts for chestnut lovers.