In late October, the Castanyada, a traditional festivity that is the first of the most traditional autumn festivities, comes to the forefront. However, what are the origins of the traditions you will experience over the course of these days in Barcelona? We at El Principal de l’Eixample are happy to provide you with an explanation.
The history of the castanyada goes back to the Middle Ages, and it is closely related to All Saints’ Day, which is held on November 1. According to popular legend, several centuries ago, citizens would gather in church to pray for the deceased.
Owing to the significant activity and the cold weather of that time of the year, chestnut-sellers began to appear on the streets, offering freshly roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes to the faithful.
A tradition that has endured
The castanyada has survived to this day, not only in private homes, but also in the restaurants of Barcelona. Typical delicacies include chestnuts, sweet potatoes, Muscat wine (a sweet wine that is typically enjoyed during this season) and panellets, a combination of nuts and sugar that may be made from pine nuts, almonds, lemon, chocolate, cocoa…
In Barcelona you will also have the chance to enjoy different activities such as the ones that are traditionally held in Montjuïc Castle. These activities, which include traditional games, chestnut-customizing workshops and more, are ideal for families with children.
Autumn cuisine for the celebrations
The cold weather has arrived, and the restaurants in Barcelona would like to celebrate the Castanyada with new culinary proposals. Among them is El Principal de l’Eixample, which features a new autumn menu with outstanding Mediterranean dishes such as mushroom, pumpkin and chestnut soup or button pine mushrooms with foie gras and poached eggs.
These autumn dishes are ideal to compliment others such as oxtail royale with foie gras and truffles, lamb ribs with sweet potatoes and chanterelles or the ever-tasty hare rice. Please feel free to book a table and come celebrate the Castanyada at El Principal.