Every year, around this time, Halloween arrives to our streets with pumpkin and spooky decorations displayed in shops. However much fun Halloween can be, it is an imported tradition that arrived with all the promotion from TV and films. So what are our own Catalan traditions around this time?
When it starts to get cold “la Castanyera” (The Chestnut Lady) helps us keep warm, selling us hot roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes wrapped in newspaper (paperina). You can find the Castanyera selling them in street stalls throughout Barcelona until the beginning of December.
The festival is called “La Castanyada” and its origins are in an ancient ritual of the dead, that is why it starts on All Saints’ Day. It consists of a meal of chestnuts, sweet potatoes, panellets and candied fruit, typically with muscatel to drink.
Muscatel is a sweet wine made of raisins, served with a dessert that consists of a mixture of nuts that is called “Postre de Music” (the musician dessert).
Panellets are small cakes made mainly of marzipan (a paste of crushed almonds and sugar) baked in the oven together with pine nuts, coffee, chocolate or fruit, etc.
A very good place to taste these delicacies is in the Rambla, very close to our meeting point so after a tour you can end the experience with a taste of panellets, sweet potatoes, roasted chestnuts and some muscatel in La Rambla.