Chestnuts: Looking to warm your hands in the cold Madrid winter?
In Madrid we know that autumn has arrived when we see the first chestnut stalls appear. Usually they start to settle in November when it’s starting to get cold. People used to buy them to warm their hands. Today, chestnuts are a sign that Christmas is not too far away and they give you a kind of cosy, warm feeling while strolling through the illuminated streets of Madrid.
Being a “castañera” originally was a woman´s trade that started in the 19th century and was handed over from generation to generation. The ladies, who were well known in the quarter they were in, usually wore a traditional black outfit and a scarf around the head. Today ,we can see a mixture of women and men but still in the middle to older ages.
The chestnuts are prepared on the spot – it is little science how they have to be made – and you get about a dozen for 2€. Apart from chestnuts, most stalls also offer delicious baked sweet potatoes and corn, sweets or those apples with red sugar cover that look nice but are so difficult to eat!
Discover the fascinating history of Madrid on our bike tours. Hear the legends and stories of the city as you explore the hidden corners and spots. Learn more about Spain’s culture, history, politics and traditions from the tour’s local expert guide.