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Chestnuts – the kings of autumn
If you walk through the streets of Zagreb in the autumn months, you will be carried away by an intoxicating, very familiar smell.
It is the smell of autumn, rain, cooler air and warmer clothes, a smell that tells that now is the time to go indoors and enjoy the autumn fruits – the smell of roasted chestnuts.
Photo: Damjan Tadic / CROPIX
This fragrance comes from the stands located throughout the city center, where smiling faces are always waiting for you, who will gladly talk to you, tell you what is their secret recipe for delicious chestnuts and share with you at least a part of their joy.
Chestnuts are truly fruits that symbolize the arrival of true autumn – after all, the finest ones are only available from mid-October – and are enjoyed by all generations.
And just at that time, when the leaves change color and create a rustling cover on the streets, many locals decide on probably the most cheerful family activity that this season allows: harvesting chestnuts. They know that it is necessary to wait for the fruits to fall from the trees and their cocoons turn brown – this way it will be easier to deal with those awkward spines that guard that delicious, sweet fruit.
So, gloves on and buckets in hands and head out to Medvednica! The southern, sunny slopes of Zagreb's mountain abound with chestnut trees, and those who don't mind a slightly longer drive can head to Žumberak or Samoborsko gorje. The hills around Zagreb are full of chestnut trees and they are eagerly waiting for someone to enjoy the autumn fruits.
But watch out! If you want to go on this autumn adventure, you must obtain a permit from the competent forestry office, otherwise you will be fined thousands of kunas. You can choose a daily, weekly or monthly pass, depending on how long you want your harvest to last. And once you fill the buckets with chestnuts and prepare them in your favorite way, you will realize how much your effort really paid off!
Photo: Nera Simic / CROPIX
Boiled or roasted, sweet or salty, in a pot or on the fire – every brown fruit is filled with the tempting notes of autumn.
Heading photo: Damjan Tadic / CROPIX