Roasted chestnuts are a simple, but rare delight, as there are less and less places where you can find them. Fortunately, the taste that brings back childhood memories from the cold season is at home in Romania. One of the best places to try it is in Tismana (Gorj county), at the Chestnut Tree Festival, taking place each year at the beginning of October. This year, the one-day festival is planned for this Saturday, October 11.
Chestnuts are the symbols of Tismana, so it is no wonder that roasted and boiled chestnuts are the main attraction of the festival, along with traditional dance performances and concerts. People here are proud of the forest on the outskirts of their city, known as the second largest chestnut forest in Romania (around 150 hectares). But they are also concerned about its state, as it is affected by bark cancer. The festival tries to raise awareness on that matter as well.
Nostalgia for childhood tastes is just the pretext to set out on what may be a weekend escapade. If you plan to go from Bucharest, the shortest route with wonderful-colored autumn scenery passes through E81 European road (Bucuresti – Ramnicu Valcea), DN67 national road (Ramnicu Valcea – Targu Jiu) and DN67D (Targu Jiu – Tismana). On your way there, you can visit some shops in Horezu locality, famous for its traditional pottery and see some of the the renowned works of sculptor Constantin Brancusi in Targu Jiu. Just 36 km away from Targu Jiu is Tismana Monastery, the oldest monastic settlement in Romania. While you’re on the road, the monastery and its surroundings are worth seeing.