Roasted chestnuts on an open fire
When the leaves change colour and the Galician summer light fades into autumn black, there is nothing better than sitting by an open warm fireplace with friends and family eating roasted chestnuts and celebrating Magosto festival
Traditionally symbolises the onset of autumn, the delicious nut is integral to the Galician past and a driver for sustainable agriculture as an engine for change.
The end of the harvest season in Galicia is traditionally celebrated in November with Magosto or Festa de Castaña. The festival, dating back to the Iron Age Celts, has many pagan rituals relating to death and rebirth. Marking the end of summer and the changes in the solar cycle. The festival is a celebration of local gastronomy with music, song and dance. Paired with wine and chorizo, it is a genuinely authentic experience attracting locals and tourists alike for an immersive taste of Galicia.
Before the arrival of potatoes and Corn from the Americas, chestnuts were the main food staple in Galicia. The Edible nut, chestnuts are packed with potassium and vitamin C. High in fibre and are a good source of antioxidants. The nut can be eaten roasted or added as a supplement to other local recipes and it can be also grounded into flour for baking traditional bread and cakes.
The chestnut tree can grow up to 30m and live up to 1000 years. The tree provides wood for construction, firewood for heating and cooking and fruit for food and flour. Figures collected by PEFC Galicia, show the current estimate of nearly 50,000 hectares of chestnut trees in Galicia. The tree only cover 3.5% of the woodland forest, producing around 20 million kilos annually with an estimated turnover of over €50 million.
According to Jesús Quintá, Presidente de la IXG Castaña de Galicia, in his interview for La Voz de Galicia, climate change is bringing more severe droughts and heat waves impacting both the quality and quantity of the harvests. However, he is still bullish about the chestnut business and its benefits to both the community and the economy.
In recent years there has been a conflict between planting and growing Chestnut trees and Eucalyptus trees across Galician communities. With many challanges for both local government and industry. Both are vital natural commodities for the local economy but with very different environmental and biodiversity impacts.
When we bought the land, we found some fruiting chestnut trees. We intend to plant more native trees such as oak and chestnuts on the land as part of our biodiversity efforts to rehabilitate the scars left by the old granite quarry.
Well, or Pues, as they say in Spanish! If you got this far, it means you read the whole post… and I Thank you.
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Founder | FincA Galicia Resort