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Natural Viewpoint of the Spanish Chestnut Grove

Diputación de Málaga

Natural Viewpoint of the Spanish Chestnut Grove

The Spanish chestnut grove plays a vital role for the Serranîa de Ronda from different points of view: environment, culture, and finance. The values of this type of formation go from the amazing landscaping value to the financial support that different trades and traditions have, passing through the value as food product and, as tourist attraction for those who enjoy the pleasures of nature, when chestnuts paint of yellow and ochre-colored the landscapes. Luckily, it is long away when the chestnut was the “bread of the poor”.

During winter, the Valley, leaves naked, is filled of small smoke columns. This is the prune burning, which makes the chestnut grove fall asleep. After the spring rains, the trees become green again and the chestnut grove turns bright green, colour of the new leaves.

In June, the tree blooms and during summer the burrs grow to protect the chestnut. After summer, autumn comes and burrs fall from the tree. They open and the fruit is shown. Then expert hands from the whole family, especially women’s, carefully extract the chestnut. However, transportation and commercialization is done by men.

The harvest campaign finishes by November. It is when the traditional festival of “Tostones” takes place; chestnuts are roasted and consumed with anis, eau-de-vie and other typical liquors. This festival brings all the neighbours and many visitors together around this important fruit for the Serranîa de Ronda.

It currently exists around 4,000 ha of chestnut grove in the Genal Valley. They are in the acid soils orientated to the North, where humidity is preserved. The average productivity is high: 1,000 kg/ha. Only a 10% of the groves does not exceed the 500 kg/ha, and about a 2% obtains more than 3,000 kg/ha. As the campaign begins earlier than in Europe, the selling price at the beginning of the campaign (October) is quite good. However, prices go down quickly when the rest of the productive areas start their businesses. For all this, the chestnut grove is a key financial pillar as well as an important additional income for the families of the Valley.

It is easy to taste dishes cooked with chestnuts in many of the restaurants of the Serranîa de Ronda. In the season, you can also buy them raw, and during the whole year, tinned.

In the Museo de la Castaña (Chestnut Museum) from Pujera, you can know further about this tasty product.

To admire this impressive landscape, the Development Plan for Tourism in the Serrania de Ronda has funded the construction of a Natural Viewpoint .

Viewpoint