Sunday, November 27, 2011

An Ode to the Chestnut

many chestnuts were consumed in the making of this post

A Galician abuela might tell you that any meal is incomplete without potatoes—regardless of the meal. Galician gastronomy includes an impressive variety of seafood and shellfish (more on that later), typically accompanied by—you guessed it—the potato! But before the potato there was corn. And before the corn there was the chestnut!

A Fraga is a common Galician forest with a prevalent population of indigenous aliso, roble, and castaño, (alder, oak, and chestnut), trees. This presence made chestnuts and acorns a convenient source of nutrition for early settlers, and, to my good fortune, the chestnut harvest is still celebrated enthusiastically. During Magosto people enjoy castañas asadas, classic roasted chestnuts, accompanied of course by good music and homemade wine! When my evening class ended we all followed the sound of the gaita and the panderetta, Galician bagpipes and tambourine, downstairs, and by the time I reached the last step most of my students had already joined the circle of merry singers and dancers. Not having tried roasted chestnuts for a number of years I was happy to discover that they are delicious!

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