Whenever October comes round … it can only mean one thing: chestnut time … yessss!! 😀
As we had had to give the chestnut festival a miss last year, we decided that we would try to attend one this year; however, not the one in Ascona (which we had visited two years ago) … but the one closer to home. So this year, we made up our minds to go to the Chestnut Festival at Fully.
Unlike Ascona, which is more than 5 hours away by train, it took less than 1.5 hours for us to reach Fully from Lausanne. So not only did we save time in travelling, we also did not have to spend anything for accommodation as there was more than enough time to visit the festival as a day excursion.
In fact, we even had enough time to visit another place after the chestnut festival at Fully — however, more of that in a separate entry.
So here are the photos of the Fête de la Châtaigne (or Chestnut Festival) at Fully, a small but beautiful village in the French-speaking part of the canton of Valais (the name of this village is pronounced fuii ).
The lakeview from the train as we made our way to Fully (shot taken just before Vevey). Initially, we had planned to go to the festival on Saturday. After having checked the weather forecasts which were predicting that Sunday would be a sunnier day than Saturday, we however changed the day of our visit to Sunday from Saturday. Unfortunately, the weatherman got the forecasts wrong. Saturday would have been a much sunnier day for the visit … as it was grey and wet on Sunday … sheessh!!! 😦
Fortunately, the rain did not fall until after we had left the festival!
We had to change to a bus at Martigny (canton of Valais), which took us to the venue of Fête de la Châtaigne in the village of Fully (same canton).
Despite the grey and chilly weather, there was quite a crowd on that day. It was reported in Le Nouvelliste (a French-speaking newspaper published in Valais) that about 40,000 people turned up for the 2-day festival at Fully.
The setting might not be as picturesque as that in Ascona … but the snow-capped and mist covered mountains certainly provided a lovely backdrop to the chestnut festival at Fully nonetheless!
And unlike at Ascona (at least to the one that we went two years ago), the festival at Fully covered a much larger area and had a lot more stalls. In fact, this large open-air market during the festival is the third largest in the French-speaking region of Switzerland.
The few shots below show the different streets that we visited during the festival.
So with a larger area and more stalls set up for the festival, there were certainly a lot more to see at this festival than the one at Ascona.
And what I enjoyed browsing the most during the festival are those stalls that were selling handicrafts like the ones below.
Each of the above stalls had something which I would have lurveeeed to get my hands on … if we had not planned to go somewhere else after visiting the festival … and if only we had had our own means of transport! 🙂
In case you wonder what the white stuff on the bottom left picture is …
… they are nougats! Do they not look so deliciously tempting? It was the first time that I saw nougats being sold in huge blocks. Normally, they are nicely cut into small pieces and wrapped in a plastic. I am not much a fan of nougat … but looking at them being presented this way, it was hard to refrain from reaching my purse and buying some – however, I remained steadfast and did not succumb to the temptation lah! 🙂
And at several of the stalls …
… the items on sale were made on the spot … so that one would feel fully confident in their originality or freshness.
As for the soups … they were cooked the traditional way in big black cauldrons like in the old days! Lovely was it not?
I really love how everything was organised and the thoughts that went into organising it.
And then, there was the entertainment …
We managed to catch the performance on the stage … as well as through the streets much later … by the band of the Police Cantonale Jurassienne.
And we also got to see folk dancing on the street. There were different entertainments organised for the two days … including mini train rides to the chestnut forest every half an hour.
In fact, if we had remembered to sign up by Friday, we could even have gone on some chestnut foraging with a guide at the chestnut forest. Unfortunately, as we had felt that it would be safer to leave it until Saturday morning to check the weather first before chosing which day to go… we left it a little too late! But we made up for it by going on our own chestnut foraging …. after the festival! 😀
There was also a clown who would walk through the streets to provide some entertainment to children …
… as well as this big monkey … who caught the hubby by surprise when he snatched the bag of chestnuts from the hubby while he was busy munching them! He kindly returned the hubby his bag of chestnuts … but only after having taken only half a chestnut for himself! 🙂
And of course … a chestnut festival would not be called a chestnut festival … without the stars of the attraction, ehh?
I saw five groups in different areas busy roasting and selling chestnuts (but there might have been more). It was interesting (at least to me) to see that the guys at Fully roasted their chestnuts differently from those at Ascona. Well … the roasting was the same but the utensils used were different.
I think the ones used at Fully are better because it avoided the problem of bursting chestnuts being left scattered on the floor or flying at you while you are watching them roasting the chestnuts!
This group used huge chestnut roasters … with openings on top and below … one for putting fresh chestnuts into the roaster and one for collecting the roasted chestnuts.
And for those who might be interested in roasting their own chestnuts at home … there was a wide variety of utensils to choose and buy from this stall here …
… including the knives or cutters to cut a slit into the chestnuts (in order to prevent the chestnuts from bursting and scattering all over the place when you use an open pan to roast the chestnuts!)
And this was the special menu of the chestnut festival at Fully which seemed quite popular : roasted chestnuts served with some grapes, an apple and some cheese.
We did not get a plate for ourselves … but we did leave the festival with some souvenirs.
Getting a packet of roasted chestnuts to eat during a chestnut festival is, of course, a must! But in addition … the hubby bought for himself a bread made from chestnut and some organic goat cheese … whereas I bought for myself, of all things to buy during the festival, … a bunch of pink garlic from Lautrec (France)!
This garlic is supposed to be the finest garlic in France and, being a famous garlic, it not only has its own festival in August but also its own brotherhood! Of course, I was not aware of how famous this garlic was when I bought them … as my only thought was to try and grow a pink garlic for next year! But after having read more about this garlic … errr, maybe it might not be a good idea (it requires clay-chalky soil). Since I had already bought them; and as I love to experiment with my balcony garden … I am going to plant a few cloves nonetheless!! hehehe … 😀
By noon … it was time for us to leave the festivities. I wished that we could have stayed longer as I was really enjoying myself visiting the various stalls (which I found to be a lot more interesting than the ones at Ascona two years ago) … but we had other plans for the rest of the afternoon.
In our hurry to get back to the train station, we accidentally boarded the wrong bus (one that ferried visitors to the free carpark situated about 5-7 minutes away). As a result, we got to see a bit of the area though.
Fortunately, despite having wasted precious time at having to take the same bus back to the festival area a few minutes later … we did not miss the correct bus back to Martigny. Otherwise, we would have had to wait for another hour to catch the next postbus! And if that had been the case … we might have arrived too late to do our second excursion for the day : to forage for chestnuts at Bouveret!! 🙂
Past entry on Chestnut Festival: