The nuts (“CASTANHAS”) are an important food crop in southern Europe, southwestern and eastern Asia, and also in eastern North America before the arrival of chestnut blight. In southern Europe in the Middle Ages, whole forest-dwelling communities which had scarce access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates.
The nuts can be eaten candied, boiled or roasted; the former are often sold under the French name marrons glacés. Another important use of chestnuts is to be ground into flour, which can then be used to prepare bread, cakes and pasta.
In Portugal, the “São Martinho” feast, is a religious celebration with pagan origin. It is homage to the saint known as the patron saint of drunken people and the presentation of the new wine, after made the vintage. The celebration is at 11th of November and in Portugal is the time to eat roasted “CASTANHAS”.