Asturias, Autumn of Chestnuts and Cider

Are you looking for fun and interesting things to do during your Erasmus scholarship in Spain? Then you must know that fall in Asturias is the best time to discover its gastronomic delights. For example, the traditional apple harvest takes place towards the end of September, before the mayado (the process of pressing the fruit to obtain the juice for cider). It’s quite a spectacle!

The season continues with the amagüestu, which takes place in Asturias at the end of October and beginning of November. This traditional festival revolves around sweet cider, chestnuts and fire. According to tradition, in the privacy of their home, families enjoyed sweet cider with roasted chestnuts picked during their strolls around the caleyas (roads) of Asturias. Today there are many festivals where everyone is invited to try the tasty combination of these roasted dry fruits and the most traditional of Asturian drinks.

To get a real taste of the amagüestu tradition, we suggest you visit Navelgas on Saturday, November 11, when Noche mágica (Magical Night) and the Esfoyón and amagüestu Festival take place. These popular old traditions are celebrated so the young can enjoy them and keep them alive. The festival attempts to recreate the esfoyones of yesteryear, when the town’s residents would gather in one of their homes to peel (esfoyar) the corn. The Esfoyón starts at 8:30 in the evening, and the streets, illuminated with torches, get covered with the leaves of the husk. The locals wear their traditional clothes and the younger ones give out garutsa (homemade cherry aniseed and pomace brandy), café de tizón (brown coffee) and freshly made sidra del duerno (sweet cider). It’s so colorful!

So make a note of all the unforgettable gastronomic adventures you can experience in Asturias, from being inside a cave where the famous Cabrales cheese is cured in the Picos de Europa mountains, to becoming a beekeeper for one day, or learning to “echar un culín” (pour a drink from a bottle held way up high over the glass) of cider. Book your flight to Asturias with Iberia Joven, pay less and enjoy more!

Photo | Jose A. del Moral