Text: CUINA MAGAZINE Photo: Anna Garcia Frigola
An autumn essential
La Castanyada festival is the ideal time to enjoy roasted Viladrau chestnuts
One of the oldest traditions in Catalonia is eating roasted chestnuts on All Saints’ Day, on November 1, which over the years has given rise to the popular annual festival known as La Castanyada. In other words, eating roasted chestnuts in autumn in Catalonia is a big deal. In season from the end of September until December, chestnuts are one of the country’s quintessential autumn products, and one of the most highly-prized varieties are Viladrau chestnuts. Collected in the Montseny Natural Park at an altitude of 900 metres, Viladrau chestnuts are rich in carbohydrates and fibre, and low in fat. Also rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, Viladrau chestnuts contain a large amount of potassium and low sodium, making them an extremely healthy choice. In fact, Viladrau chestnuts even have their own fair, La Fira de la Castanya de Viladrau, which takes place at the end of October and has been celebrated in the town in the county of Osona since 1995. The annual fair brings together gastronomy and commerce alongside leisure activities. Although the Romans introduced chestnut trees in the eastern Mediterranean, they did not become popular in Catalonia until the 18th century. They were initially mostly planted in the northeastern zone of Catalonia (Guilleries-Montseny, Corredor-Montnegre, Empordà and Garrotxa), and also in the Conca de Barberà, where the climatic conditions were more favourable.