A highly valued nut in Europe
The chestnut is an abundant nut in the north-western region of the province of Málaga, where the mountain climate is favourable for their growth. The majority of the production, almost four million kilos every year, comes from Valle del Genal, where there are aproximately 3.500 hectares used for the plantation of chestnut trees. The majority of the production of these chestnuts from Málaga are exported to Europe. The main destinations of this nut are Italy, France, Germany and United Kingdom, where the quality of the product is highly valued. The main region of production is in Serranía de Ronda, where there are two big cooperatives.
The most important one is located between Pujerra and Jubrique, although the one in Parauta also picks thousands of kilos every year.
The chestnuts from Málaga represent a main source of income for a lot of residents of this area of the province. Every year, a lot of families pick up this product in the beginning of autuum in lands that are very steep and difficult to access.There, the variety that is popularly known as ‘pilonga’—etymologically, the name refers to the nuts’ easiness to be peeled— is highly valued. The harvest time lasts barely a month and its ending is usualy celebrated with the popular roasting of chestnuts around the 1st of November or All Saints Day. In this holday, it is a costum to roast the chestnuts and eat them with anisset or, in villages like Pujerra or Arriate, with ‘misela’ (a traditional fortified wine). In this later village, they have been celebrating for a few years now not only the roasting but also the Holiday of the Chestnut, during the closest weekend to the beginning of November. During those days, the quality of this nut is celebrated and they offer tour visits to the chestnut museum. In the village of Yunquera, in Sierra de las Nieves, they also show off for having this nut, although it is not the most important on. Because of that, during the last days of Octuber, they celebrate the Holiday of the Wine and the Chestnut, where the nut shares the spotlight with the artisanal must.