MWith the arrival of São Martinho on November 11, you can see the chestnut sellers in the streets with their mobile carts, full of roasted chestnuts. That can mean only one thing: chestnut time has started in Portugal!
Eating chestnuts in Lisbon
The carts are often installed at busiest spots in the city. The chestnuts have an unmistakable smell, the whole city smells like roasted chestnuts. I love the smell of roasted chestnuts, but that’s the only thing I like about chestnuts. The taste is ok, but for me they are difficult to swallow. My travel buddy, on the other hand, loves them!
Chestnuts: a centuries-old tradition
On the 11th of November, the Portuguese commemorate São Martinho – a Roman soldier, who was converted to Christianity after a meeting with Jesus, who was disguised as a beggar. The story is equal to the Saint Martin story you hear in other European countries.
The Portuguese celebrate Sao Martinho with family and friends. It is a real festival, with many chestnuts roasted throughout the country.
The proverb that is heard on November 11 is: “No dia de São Martinho come-se castanhas e bebe-se vinho”, in other words: “On the day of São Martinho we eat chestnuts and drink wine.” Not just regular wine, but Jeropiga – a special wine liqueur that goes hand in hand with peeling and eating chestnuts.
24 October: chestnut festival in Lisbon
When you’re around, October 24th is the chestnut festival in Lisbon! Go to Praça Luís de Camões, near Bairro Alto. The party starts at noon and from 12:30 – 13:30 it’s happy hour. During the chestnut festival you can – of course – eat chestnuts, there are wine tastings and you can try all kinds of regional drinks. In addition, the afternoon is filled with music and workshops about cooking with chestnuts.
If you are in the area, it is certainly worth taking a look. The festival ends at 18:00.