All Saints’ Day is the official celebration in Spain, Italy and France, and their traditional dishes can give you fresh ideas for your Halloween meal.
Halloween is a favorite celebration for many people around the globe because of its fun activities, tasty treats, and spooky atmosphere. With its roots being traced back to the ancient Celtic festival named Samhain, Halloween or “All Hallows Eve” is the night before All Saints’ Day, a day that is dedicated to known and unknown Saints of Christianity.
It is officially celebrated on November 1st in various European countries instead of Halloween, with some Mediterranean countries, namely Spain, France, and Italy, being among those. It is this time of the year in which people honor their dead loved ones, by organizing cemetery rituals, offering them flowers– and especially chrysanthemum, the flower that is connected with death– and praying for their souls.
In Spain, Dia de Todos Los Santos, namely All Saints’ Day, is a very important public holiday that is associated with the family bonds and, of course, religion. People devote this day to visit their relatives’ graves and decorate them with flowers, to keep their memory alive. Also, this day is a unique opportunity to eat traditional food and special treats.
The feast of Castañada is strongly connected to remembering the deceased ones, as friends and family gather together to roast castañas (chestnuts) in campfires or grills. Other treats such as Bueñuelos de Viento (wind fritters), Panellets (a pastry from Catalonia), and Huesos de Santo (saint’s bones) are also popular.
Bueñuelos are sweet or savory fritters, made of dough stuffed with chocolate, cream or other ingredients. Panellets are sweets made of marzipan and covered with pine nuts. Finally, Huesos de Santo, or Saint’s bones, are rolls filled with various types of fillings, like chocolate and marmalade.
Italy values this celebration as well, and Festa di Tutti I Santi is a special day for Italians, who visit the graves of their loved ones and enjoy a long lunch with their friends and family afterwards. Pane dei Santi (All’ Saints’ bread) is a popular option among Italians, and includes nuts, figs, and raisins. Another type of bread is il Pane dei Morti (bread of the dead), that includes biscuit, chocolate, raisins, and cinnamon.
For the ones that prefer cakes, Castagnaccio is a tasty cake made with chestnut flour and enriched with raisins, pine nuts, and rosemary. Also, chestnuts and pumpkins are very popular as key ingredients in risottos, soups, and other recipes for All Saints’ Day meal.
La Toussaint refers to All Saints’ Day in France, which is celebrated similar to Spain and Italy. Cemeteries welcome visitors, churches are decorated with chrysanthemums and candles, the bells ring, families are reunited. It is also common for French people to sing together, tell stories for the departed ones and-what else? – eat!
Niflettes pour la Toussaint are delicious pastry tarts stuffed with crème pâtissière, and they are traditionally prepared for this celebration. Chocolate, hazelnuts, dried fruits, almonds and other ingredients constitute a different delicacy, with latin origins but very popular in France, named Touron de la Toussaint. As for the main meals, those usually contain pumpkin, nuts, bacon, and other ingredients. Pancakes, cider, and milk are also popular options for French’s celebratory meals.