Many events have traditionally been held across Europe each Autumn to celebrate the harvesting of chestnuts.
Here are a few that have generally taken place in November, though they can also be held in December
For more information about chestnuts and other chestnut festivals also see 'October'
Renowned for its chestnut woods which for centuries, shaped the way of life of those who lived among or near them, providing food for both people and animals as well as the timber for everything from house construction and furnishings to coffins, Corsica celebrates its long dependence upon sweet chestnuts with festivals held in late Autumn. The chestnut tree - many in the region are several hundred years old - is a symbol of local identity.
In the medieval village of Evisa, in western Corsica, perched in the hills at 850 m, surrounded by some 250 has of chestnut groves, on the edge of the Foret D'Aitone, a Fete du Marron (and for the last few years du Champignon also) has been held since 1991 at the end of November. While the 28th Chestnut & Mushroom Festival was held on 24th November 2021, the 2023 celebration is scheduled for the 3rd December.
Preceded by Mass in the village church and procession of the 'Confrerie du Marron d'Evisa', (the Brotherhood of the Evisa Chestnut), the festival offers various attractions, local produce being the central focus, but also exhibitions, music, culinary demonstrations and events including the induction of new members to the Brotherhood.
Stands filling the central part of the main road that winds its way down from the mountains to the sea at Porto, some 10 kms away, offer chestnut flour - given AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protegee status since 2010 for its quality and flavour) - and other chestnut-related foods, including honey produced by bees that have foraged on the trees' flowers as well as those of the island's maquis vegetation, falculelle - flat, fritter-like cakes, and an array of sausages made from the meat of the pigs that wander at liberty through the chestnut woodland - these are local breeds that enjoy a diet that also includes acorns.
Visitors are encouraged to walk along the 'Sentier du chataigner' - a pathway that winds for 3.5 km through the chestnut woods above the village, an ancient route of 'transhumance' followed by generations of shepherds, which now has information boards along its length explaining the historic importance of the chestnut in local culture, its cultivation and many uses.
For an excellent summary of the significance of chestnut cultivation in Corsica, see 'Revisiting the Resilience of Chestnut Forests in Corsica: From Social-Ecological Systems Theory to Political Ecology' , Genevieve Michon, Ecology and Society Vol. 16, No. 2 (Jun 2011)]
in mainland FRANCE
Fête des Châtaignes beginning in October and running into November, have become a feature of many villages of the Alpes-Maritimes area and other chestnut-growing regions of France.
The Ardeche for example, which produces half of the country's chestnuts, hosted 11 celebrations, Les Castagnades, throughout October and into November 2021.
Two taking place in November are at:
Vesseaux - 4th & 5th November 2023, &
Joannas - 11th & 12th November 2023
Piancastagnaio, Siena province
October - November
One of the the oldest and largest of Tuscan chestnut festivals is the Crastatone, (from the verb 'crastare', meaning to cut the top of the chestnut before roasting it) which takes place at the foot of Mount Amiata, in the ancient village of Piancastagnaio. Until World War II chestnuts were the main source of food available to people of the Mount Amiata region.
'Between October and November ... the medieval village celebrates the end of the chestnut harvest season and the arrival of Winter with a festival full of events. Visitors can enjoy art exhibitions, buy presents in the art & craft fairs or taste local delicacies in the restaurants of Piancastagnaio'.
'crastate (roasted chestnuts), brodolose (boiled chestnuts with fennel), vecchierelle (dried chestnuts), suggioli (boiled chestnuts with peel), castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake), & pulenna doicce (sweet polenta)