Autumn’s seasonal treats
Autumn not only brings a change in the weather, but with it highly-prized seasonal products. From the end of September and into November there are multiple fairs, festivals and markets all over the country devoted to such autumn delicacies as wild mushrooms, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and chestnuts. In the following pages, you can find information on these four star autumn products, along with some tasty recipes.
Every year, the woods of Catalonia are filled with people hunting for edible mushrooms (bolets in Catalan). There is a bewildering number of varieties growing wild at this time of year, from rovellons (bloody milk cap) and fredolics (grey knight) to camagrocs (yellow foot), and many more. For the less adventurous, edible wild mushrooms can be found in local markets, and throughout autumn there are fairs and festivals devoted to the tasty fungi. Terrassa dedicates all November to autumn food, including the Fira del bolet, while Santa Susanna, in Maresme, holds its annual Festa del Bolet on November 11. There are also markets, such as the Mercat del Bolet de Cal Rosal, in Berguedà, until November 30.
Chestnuts (castanyes in Catalan) are another popular autumn delicacy in Catalonia, which celebrates its annual castanyda festival on October 31, on the eve of All Saint’s Day. On that day, stalls appear in towns selling roasted chestnuts wrapped in paper, along with another major protagonist at this time of year, baked sweet potatoes. On the first weekend of November, the town of Amer, in the county of Selva, even has a chestnut roasting contest.
As mentioned, sweet potatoes (moniatos in Catalan) are another favourite at this time of year. In fact, it is not unusual for sweet potato to be used in one of Catalonia’s iconic desserts, panellets, the small round cakes made of almond and marzipan. Sweet potatoes also get their own events in autumn, such as the Festa dels Moniatos in Olesa de Montserrat.
Autumn is also the time for pumpkins, and while it is not be a local tradition, Halloween has become popular with the younger generations due to their exposure to American culture. Yet, pumpkin is also the main ingredient in cabell d’àngel (literally “angel’s hair”) a transparent jam made from pumpkin and sugar, which originated in Mallorca, and which is used extensively in confectionery.