Ardèche is the largest chestnut-producing department in France, with nearly 5,000 tonnes a year. Awarded AOC status in 2006, the Ardèche chestnut is used in many specialities, from the celebrated candied chestnuts to the famous chestnut purée, by way of chestnut liqueur, the cake Lou Pisadou, chestnut soup and chestnut flour bread.
To know more about this mythical nut and its nutritional value, and the world of chestnut growers, go to the House of the Chestnut (Maison du Châtaignier) at Saint-Pierreville, in the Ardèche Mountains Regional Nature Park, where three floors of exhibits will reveal the world of the chestnut.
There is also a museum dedicated to the history of the chestnut, from the Middle Ages to today, in the centre of the medieval town of Joyeuse.
From mid-October to mid-November the emblematic nut of Ardèche is honoured during the traditional chestnut festivals, the Castagnades, at Antraigues-sur-Volane, Désaignes, Joyeuse, Meyras, Saint-André-Lachamp, Privas and Saint-Pierreville.