Each year we treat our international students and teachers to a taste of the traditional St. Martins festivities in Portugal. The festival is called São Martinho in Portuguese and takes place at a time of year in Portugal when daytime weather can still be spectacularly warm and sunny, just before temperatures plunge and the cold, winter wind starts to blow in from Serra de Estrela.

Legend has it that one day a Roman soldier named Martin was making his way to his native land. The weather was very cold, and Martin encountered a shivering beggar on his journey who asked him for help. Martin tore his cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar. Suddenly the cold snap passed by and the weather warmed up, and the event is believed to have been the reward for Martin’s kindness to the beggar. Whether or not the legend is true, in Portugal on November 11th you will most likely be invited to feast on seasonal Magusto, or chestnuts, roasted over coals.

This year Coach Pedro arranged for a Portuguese lady to come to school and roast some tasty chestnuts for us on site, so that we all got the chance to enjoy the full experience of freshly roasted, salty chestnuts, served in the traditional Portuguese way in a paper cone. The chestnuts come hot and ready for peeling and eating, and have a wonderfully sweet, nutty, and smoky taste to them – the perfect taste of autumn in Portugal!

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