Autumn is here and one more time Barcelona is preparing for this vibrant season, filled with peculiar traditions and delicious gastronomic proposals. What a great time of the year to visit the city!
Seasonal Sweets & Nuts
A Spanish tradition would not be a Spanish tradition if there’d be no food, right? ‘La Castanyada’ is a Catalan festivity which indicates the start of the cooler months. It coincides with Halloween, and apparently both share a common origin in an ancient pagan tradition. On this particular day, families gather together to eat seasonal food: Castañas (Chestnuts), Panellets (Pine Kernel buns), and Sweet Potatoes.
During the festival of the chestnut, families gather around all over Barcelona to roast chestnuts and sweet potatoes while drinking Moscatel, a popular sweet wine. The stalls selling them also flood the city. Picture yourself strolling down the streets of Barcelona on a cold day while holding your ‘paperina’ (packet) of steaming hot Castañas in your hand. Make sure to have some room in your stomach once you try the next delicacy: ‘Panellets.’ These small marzipan-based treats have a sweet taste and are topped with almonds, pine nuts, coconut, orange syrup, chocolate, just to name a few options. It’s a must to try a few to get the full autumn experience.
Another popular activity for this season is going outside the city to the mountain with family or friends to pick your own chestnuts, bolets (mushrooms) and wild blackberries while enjoying the colors of autumn at their best maybe at Montjuic, Collserola or even Montseny.
The day after Halloween is a national Spanish holiday: El Día de Todos Los Santos is a day for honoring and remembering friends and family who have passed away. If you go around the city on this day, you’ll see flower vendors everywhere. The flowers are meant for the graves, to pay a tribute to those who’ve departed.
Are you a history enthusiast but also a spooky fan? Touristic nocturnal visits are offered to see the historic cemeteries, like the ones in Poblenou or Montjuic. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll hear a couple of interesting local ghost stories. An original plan for an evening during autumn in Barcelona!
Another local dish worth trying during the colder months is Calçots. Once this cross between a spring onion and a leek is in season, locals enjoy the Calçotada. During this traditional winter barbecue, the Calçots are put together on a grill. Once it’s finished, the layer can be removed and your Calçot is ready to be dipped in a special sauce, similar to romesco but with unique local ingredients.
At the most traditional calçotadas, you will see friends and family gathered around a big table and drinking wine from a porrón!
Last but not least, the festivity of La Mercé makes autumn in Barcelona extra special: it’s the biggest and most popular annual festival, in honor of the patron saint of Barcelona. Offering a unique program of activities all around the city is one of the best opportunities of enjoying authentic Catalan art, culture and gastronomy. You’ll be witness of the stunning parade of the Gegants I Capgrossos (papier maché giants), the Correfocs (a walking display of fireworks), Castellers (human towers), Sardana (the traditional dance), live music, workshops, kid-friendly shows and and much more!
Not sure where to go for an authentic food experience when in Barcelona? Hop on one of our amazing gastronomical tours.
Want to find out all about Catalan seasonal cooking? Join an amazing private tour in Barcelona, and have your own expert guide take you through our favorite spots in the city for a genuine Catalan food experience.