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Historical document

Chestnut study tour to Turkey, 2011 (CH10002)

Key research provider: Chestnut Hill Produce
Publication date: April, 2011

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

In October 2011 a two week tour of Turkey was undertaken to:

  • Investigate the use of chestnut processing equipment and techniques,
  • Develop linkages with equipment manufacturers with a view to establishing research studies using Australian harvest products and
  • Identify value-adding processes suitable for consideration for the Australian market including opportunities to use chestnut resources other than nuts for commercial purposes.

A mature, highly specialised candied chestnut industry was found in Turkey. The retailing of quality food outlets containing chestnut products was centred at Bursa whereas the manufacturing technology was centred at Istanbul. Turkey had developed a process that used chocolate coating of chestnuts. A taste test was conducted with sample products after our return to Australia. The participants were mature chestnut consumers and all agreed the chocolate coating made a most enjoyable sweet food.

The food processing and retailing business, called KAFKAS, was started in 1930 and now produces 3000 tonnes of candied and chocolate-coated chestnuts per annum. There was a network of 100 retail outlets mostly in northern Turkey and the company also exported candied chestnut products to Europe, North America and Asia. The combination of chestnuts and chocolate was a unique taste and was not known to the study group prior to this tour and offered a substantial opportunity for Australian harvesters wishing to value-add their produce. Importantly the candying process could extend the shelf-life of processed chestnuts.

A high-quality, manufacturer food processing equipment, called Bigtem Makine, was observed in Istanbul. This company designed and manufactured processing equipment for a large range of foods. Recently they had created a machine to peel chestnuts. Importantly the peeling machine was composed of a number of multi-purpose modules so it could be used to processes other foods outside of the chestnut season. This factor improved the business case for adopting such equipment in Australia given the relatively small quantity of nuts available. The study group was invited to send Australian chestnuts during our harvest period for peeling to verify their suitability for process with the current range of equipment available.

Just prior to leave on the tour an outbreak of blight occurred in the Ovens Valley, Victoria where 70% of Australian chestnuts were grown. The trip was altered slightly to incorporate a visit to the Bornova Plant Protection Research Institue at the EGE University to meet with Dr Celiker, the inventor of a blight treatment process being used successfully in Europe. This contact was going to be beneficial to the blight control group in Australia and her contact details and research papers had been passed on to the Blight Taskforce in Australia.

Related levy funds

0 7341 2588 7

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Chestnut Hill Produce.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2011. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).