Chestnuts and celebrations for Castagne Day | PHOTOS

The  sweet smell of roasted chestnuts blanketed Fairy Meadow on Sunday, as thousands turned out for The Fraternity Club's annual Castagne Day.

Almost a tonne of the nuts were sold in tribute to Italians who survived World War II by gathering chestnuts and turning them into bread, after their corn and grain fields were bombed.

The festivities, which included international food stalls, vintage cars, face painting and carnival rides, coincided with the beginning of the Italian nut season.

To mark Castagne Day, a group of "Alpini" - people from the Alps region in Italy - spent six hours filling 44-gallon drums with chestnuts and roasting them carefully on an open fire.

"We've got three roasting barrels and the Alpini, who have the know, will say when the barrel is ready, just by looking inside at the colour of the nuts or whether they're open," Fraternity Club board member Gabe Bresolin said, as he oversaw the process.

"They're very popular, though we still have people who have never tasted them.

"They've got a floury taste, but a sweet taste - they go nicely with a glass of red wine."

More than 4000 people attended, and club vice-president Dario Trevisi said it would not have been possible without the work of volunteer groups and the Italian community.

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