Friday, November 8, 2013

Saint Martin´s Day traditions & roasted chestnut recipe

What Halloween is to the USA, Saint Martin´s Day, Nov. 11th, is to Germany. Children go from door to door, asking for sweets, though they carry self-made lanterns instead of costumes and sing songs about Saint Martin instead of crying "Trick or treat!". The singing probably is more scary anyway. I have very fond memories of going around and scream-singinging horribly at the top of my voice.

Luckily for me, there is a protestant variety, because Martin´s Day can also be about Martin Luther. Very neat that the name fits so well!

 A couple of years ago, I spent a year in Spain were I became good friends with an Italian girl. She told me about the Italian tradition for Saint Martin´s Day: You meet with friends, eat roasted chestnuts and drink a lot of red wine. As I am too old to go singing myself and do not have children to make lanterns with, I will do that this year.

Here is a recipe for making roasted chestnuts in case you want to try the Italian version yourself! Please note that you need sweet chestnuts, not the normal kind!
 1. Make one or two slices on the flat side of the nut to open the shell.
 2. Put it in the oven at 210° C/ 400° F and bake it for 20-30 minutes. Rather check more often, they burn faster than you think!
 3. Enjoy! And don´t worry, your fingertips will recover eventually from peeling the chestnuts ;)!

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