Sweet chestnut was introduced into Europe from Sardis, hence the name of it was Sardian nut. It spread to numerous countries and became iconic food at major holidays.
However, chestnuts were considered the food for poor people, that’s why their popularity declined. Nowadays, there’s no difference between poor and rich people, because everyone loves chestnuts for their tenderness and sweetness, that’s why the Chestnut Festival is so popular in France.
Festive activities take place in every city and they attract millions of people. However, you should know, that this national event stems from the Chestnut Festival in Mourjou, where it’s called Foire de la châtaigne.
Foire de la châtaigne is annually held in Mourjou since 1990. It’s a small village of about 360 citizens, but it’s known to be the French home of chestnuts. A group of young people created this festival in order to create a special festivity and revive the popularity of chestnuts.
This festival is very successful with more than 20,000 people attending it. About 4,500 pounds of roasted chestnuts and 1,000 gallons of cider are consumed in this small village during the festival.
The Chestnut Festival in Mourjou isn’t only about roasted chestnuts consumption. The main attraction of the day is a huge market, that brings about 80 exhibitors from different cities in France.
Here you can find lots of different foods made with chestnuts: bread, pastries, chocolate, gingerbread cookies, chestnut liquor, jam.
And that’s all apart from the raw chestnuts, that are also sold here.
Chestnut pies and cakes, chestnut preserves, chestnut paste, roasted and sweetened chestnuts, and other delicious treats are sold on every corner along with some local wine to wash it down.
But be careful and try not to pick up chestnuts from the ground since the tree owners are very protecttive of them.
Better to buy some fresh chestnuts in the market and enjoy cooking and tasting them.