St. Martin, chestnuts and wine

As it is known, Italians, have always an excuse to celebrate something. In this case, the good excuse is about chestnuts and wine and it tooks place every 11th of November. This day is dedicated to the Saint Martin and it is an ancient festival that marks the end of the work in the country, the preparation of food supplies and the arrival of "little summer" as an unexpected hot time that the poet Giovanni Pascoli called "l’estate, fredda, dei morti " (the cold summer of the dead people).

The 11th of November, although not officially, is used to indicate - for the peasants- the beginning of winter and in many Italian regions it is dispelled with a kind of carnival, celebrated with banquets, masks and begging. Among the best known festivals there are those of the Trentino and South Tyrol and the grape festival of Colli Albani; in Venice, instead, the feast of St. Martin is a children feast that armed with pots and pans turn from neighborhood to neighborhood from “calle” to “calle” singing and asking coins and candy. With the money collected they buy the traditional sweet of San Martino, a pastry handmade depicting the saint with a sword riding a horse, garnished with icing sugar, chocolates and candy.

Festivals and costumes are favored by the wine; in these days, in fact, the winemaking process comes to an end and the barrels must been cleaned from the "old" wine in order to make space for the new one. The 11th of November it is also a tradicional day to taste the new wine because in "San Martino ogni mosto è vino”, that means each juice becomes wine. Today, although many folk traditions have been abandoned, the day of St. Martin is still a chance to make party with chestnuts, seasonal fruit, which blend well with the wine, new or old as well.