Halloween in Spain

On the 1st of November Spain celebrates Todos los Santos. In the past All Saints Day was also celebrated in England too. This festival coincided with the Celtic festival of the dead (Samhain) and was a notable date in the 8th century.

In Spain this celebration has lasted through the centuries. Whereas in the Uk after changes in the religious calendar in the Anglican church, it fell into disuse. Now Halloween celebrations on the 31st October have taken over.

“All Hallows Eve” or “Hallowe’en¨ the night before All Saints Day remembers the souls lost to evil. Of course marked by wearing scary costumes and carving pumpkins to ward off evil.

Of course as things progress you do see some Halloween costumes in Spain at the end of October. In some cities there may be a few halloween parties too. But this is an imported idea and not very popular. They certainly dont do trick or treat in Spain.

Roast Chestnuts Spanish Street Food

Celebrating Todos los Santos

As Todos los Santos is a commemoration of the dead, most Spanish families head to the cemetery on November 1st (or that weekend) to place flowers on tombs, clean the gravestone or nicho (most Spanish burials are in wall niches) and remember their deceased family members.

This festival is celebrated in different ways across the world.

Some of the most colourful and popular ones are in Mexico, Phillipines and Guatemala.

Find out more about the Day of the Dead in Mexico on this article  in Mexico they acutally celebrate on two days, 1st and 2nd of November.

In the Phillipines it´s often called All Souls Day.

Bunuelo de viento todos los santos

 

Typical Todos los Santos Food

In Spain, as with any tradition, there are lots of specific foods involved in the All Saints Day celebration.

Other typical food at this time of the year are Roast Chestnuts. Often served by street vendors.

Buñuelos de viento, are round little fried donuts, sometimes filled with cream. In Jaen they have Pestiños which are flat biscuits with black sesame seeds and aniseed liquer, curled up at the edges.

Sweet potatoes are roasted or eaten in the sweet version (confit) too. (seen below)

Sweet Potato Todos los Santos

Panellets Recipe

However Panellets is one of the most typical treats on November 1st.

These delicious treats are eaten in Barcelona and Catalonia, it is the only time you can find these in the cake shops and bakeries.

 

Here´s the Panellets recipe if you want to make your own.

I think that this recipe would be great idea for a dinner party.

(it´s not a cheap dish to make as Almonds and Pine Nuts are expensive ingredients)

Panellets

Ingredients:

  • 1kg Raw Ground almonds
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large cup of pine nuts
  • 500gr Sweet potatoes

 

  1. To make the panellets first boil the sweet potatoes. Wash the sweet potatoes, leave them unpeeled. Boil them in shallow water (just to cover them) until they are completely soft. Take them from the pan and dry them off.
  2. Peel them and mash the flesh until pureed
  3. Then in a separate mixing bowl blend the ground almonds and sugar together.
  4. Add the warm sweet potato puree to the almonds and sugar. Work this mix until it´s even and consistent. Once happy with the mixture let it cool and put aside. (not in fridge)
  5. Preheat the oven to 180º
  6. Now beat the three eggs in a separate bowl and leave to one side.
  7. Then take the pine nuts and spread them out onto a large plate or tray.
  8. Take the now cooled sweet potato and almond mixture make into small ball shapes. (similar size to meatballs)
  9. Individually take each ball and dip it into the beaten egg.
  10. Then roll over the pine nuts until it is covered completely and uniformly.
  11. Once all are done and the mixture has been used up set the panellets onto an oven tray. Cover them on the tray with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  12. Put the tray in the oven on the bottom shelf. (not on floor of the oven) Bake at oven temperature 180º for 10 minutes. They should be slightly golden brown when done. These are served cold and taste lovely with a sweet wine such as moscatell.

If you want to know a place to find delicious sweets, cakes and pastries in Barcelona, head to Casa Vives which is one of my favourites in the city centre. They have been in business since 1895 so have the recipe down…

They are located on Rambla Cataluña 58, (corner with Aragon) and will have their windows full of panellets towards the end of October. Todos los Santos is a holiday in Spain on 1st November however you can get panellets the days before and afterwards.

What do you celebrate on that weekend, Halloween or Todos los Santos ?