The 11th November is Saint Matins’ Day. The autumn tradition in Portugal is to eat roasted chestnuts and drink a generous wine called Jeropiga. Just as the popular proverb tell us to:
No dia de São Martinho, come as castanhas e prova o vinho.
The tradition of tasting the wine is not unique to Portugal. I’ve lived in Slovenia and, at least there too – but I dare say in whole Europe -, this is the day to taste the newly done wine. But, truthfully, in Portugal, it’s actually not really wine… Jeropiga is the “mosto” (must, would be the english word for freshly squeezed fruit juice, commonly grape’s) mixed with a strong spirit drink (in Portugal: Aguardente). Hence, it is sweeter and more alcoholic than wine.
So, after stepping on the grapes (in order to make wine) and storing most of that juice on an appropriate barrel, mixed with some yeast, the remains left on the container is often mixed with aguardente. That mix is usually aged for 3 years and called Jeropiga.
Some people drink “água-pé” (litetally “water-foot”) instead of Jeropiga. The taste is similar, but the latter one is less alcoholic.
So, go for it, run to the nearest shop, get yourself a big sack of chestnuts, turn on the barbecue and invite your friends! There’s no better way to cast Autum’s cold away!