The real taste of Catalunya
If you want a taste of real Catalan culture during your stay, then ´Calçotada´ is a must. Calçots look similar to leeks but, in fact they are onions that have been left in the darkness to sprout, re-planted and covered in soil for several months to keep the long white stalks. It is a long growing process, so when they are finally harvested they are consumed in copious amounts at Calçotadas- big, messy onion eating parties!
The Calçots are cooked on large roof tiles that are spread out on an open fire, until the outer layer is blackened. The resulting sweet, white inner section is dipped in the traditional garlic and nutty Romesco sauce and then, if you want to respect the tradition, you tip back your head and eat it whole! Not quite elegant but it is a delicious tradition.
If you make the trip to Valls, said to be the home of Calçotadas, you may also catch one of the calçot eating competitions or the famous Castellers (human towers).
In fact a Calçotada is a meal with wine throughout and starts with a tile of Calçots and plenty of romesco sauce. Be careful not too eat too many Calçots as this is only the `primero´ course. Alongside your Calçots you are served pan con tomate (bread with garlic rubbbed over and tomato). A delightful selection of bbq meats (often 5 or 6 types) follows, with judias (white beans in garlic). Postre is a Crema Catalana, again a traditional dish. The meal ends with plenty of the locally made Cava and often with coffee.
A Calçotada is a very jolly (but not a drinking) affair. Often a whole family will participate and a meal can easily take 4 hours. To give an idea of how important and popular this feast is, let us tell you about a masia on the outskirts of Barcelona. A favourite of locals as well as of tourists, this masia serves 1,000 people every Saturday and Sunday during the height of the Calçots season (October - April).
Valls, about 100km from Barcelona, is one of the best places to experience this feast, although you can enjoy it in all Catalunya. For sure you'll come across them when you are visiting Barcelona during their season. If you want an authentic experience closer to your apartment, just ask us!
If you can’t make it to one of these spectacular feasts, why not recreate the flavour at home? Put on your kitchen apron & try out our recipe!