Chestnuts from China

castanasAutumn heralds the arrival of the Chestnuts whose roasting clouds fill all corners of the city. They are enjoyed by all walks of life, says Manuel Benítez and Luisa Cuesta who make their living from this business.

‘My Grandfather worked the fairs and every autumn sold chestnuts’ says Manuel, whose own son follows the tradition and has a stand in the church in Cala del Moral. Both father and son agree that the secret of a good chestnut is in the quality of the nut. Everyone wants them to be fat and juicy and easy to peel.

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The chestnuts have their own short seasons; from September to November they come for Igualeja, in the Serrania de Ronda, from November to Christmas they are from Galicia, and come January the chestnuts that are sold are from China.

According to Manuel and his family the sweetest of these are malagueṅas. They are used in many recipes for cakes, jams, purées and puddings.

The stands have a sign that gives the nutritional qualities of the chestnut; vitamin B and C, they stimulate the bowel, and a portion of chestnuts in the evening will aid a good night’s sleep.

In the autumn the stallholders are invited into the local schools to roast and peel thousands of kilos of chestnuts for pre-school and primary education.

Salt?

Salt is added to the cooker in which the chestnuts are roasted to leave a whiter flesh. This family have passed the tradition of the roasted chestnuts down the generation and do so with ‘much love’. Every afternoon gives an opportunity to buy some for a Euro with ‘VAT not paid by the customer’ jokes Manuel Benítez.

 

This news article has been translated by members of the New Residents and Foreign Association of Malaga. If you would to become a member or further details please contact Aprile Winterstein 630927226.

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