I have talked about Ballenberg before in my posts. Ballenberg is a Swiss Outdoors Land Museum which shares Swiss smallholding and farming history, produces its own food and helps people learn more about the folklore and country skills in Switzerland. Balleneberg is divided into different Swiss regions – a French part, a low lands, an Alpine part and an Italian section. All the buildings have been moved bit by bit and reconstructed at the park and show how the styles of the regions differ. Additionally, the Swiss Rare Breed livestock and land types differ as to the regions they originate from.
This post is about the Ticino Region – the area which is heavily influenced by Italy and is Italian speaking. The houses follow the Italian design but also I found it interesting how the smallholding history is so different to other parts of Switzerland. It is known that the poor farmers and smallholders often had to rely on eating vast amounts of produce featuring chestnuts during the winter months as there was not an abundance of other foods.
I have taken some pictures of the Chestnut drying shed to explain more. This was a simple design which had a ground fire that produced heat and smoke. This in turn dried te Chestnuts which were spread on a wooden grate above the fire. This simple device was vital and would help families store the precious food stuff for longer. Often people would used the dried Chestnuts to make bread using Chestnut flour mixed with rye flour. The need for Chestnuts as a food supply was also emphasized by the importance placed on each family owning as many Chestnut trees as possible to be able to get produce from.
I have taken a photo also of the Ticino Corn Drying Racks featured in this region. It was the traditional method of drying sheaves of corn before more industrialised ways were introduced.
I hope this post has interested people and helped to show a little more about the Ticino, Italian influenced smallholding history of Switzerland. Katy xx