Pumpkins, chestnuts, Sweet potatoes, ‘huesos de santo’ (Spanish marzipan sweets), panellets (traditional Catalan sweets)… All Saints’ Day has thousands of flavours depending on the country or the region you’re celebrating in. Although for most of us, it is a day linked to the memory of our ancestors, the rituals, dishes and traditional sweets vary greatly.
Gastronomically speaking, in Catalonia, Aragón, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, the Castanyada is celebrated with baked chestnuts and sweet potato, traditional autumnal dishes, and a glass of Muscatel (sweet wine). Bakeries also fill their store windows with panellets, sweets made with a sugar-based dough, fresh ground almonds, egg and grated lemon. The outside is covered with egg white, used to attach a layer of pine nuts. These are baked, and then left to cool.
Although the classics are the bestsellers (pine nuts, coffee, chocolate or coconut), nowadays thousands of flavours are available: mojito, pineapple, banana, violet, passion fruit, etc. It is believed, that the origins come from the Arabic tradition of using this type of dough, but the first records available mentioning them date to the late 18th century. Their high calorie content, like chestnuts and sweet potatoes, make them the ideal product for the cold All Saints night (1 November) and the Day of the Dead night (2 November). In Madrid, these festivities are traditionally celebrated with buñuelos (small, doughnut-like balls made with wheat flour, butter and egg, and fried in hot oil) and huesos de santo (almond marzipan). In Andalusia, particularly in Seville, we find the huesos de san Expedito (wheat flour dough, sugar and egg yolk).