Catalunya has its own way of cherishing winter that is the special tradition of Catalan barbeques with a series of exceptional food festivities known as “The Calçotada”. This festivity is the same as many of the barbeques where you gather with your friends, have delicious food, wine and a lot of fun. However, these Catalan barbeques are not just your regular meat barbecues, the turning point of this festival is that it is based on the seasonal vegetable, “Calçot”. Below, we present some fun facts about the festival that will help you understand it better:
The onion festival:
The tradition is usually held to say goodbye to the winter as the vegetable “Calçot” is fully ripe from January to April which is a type of scallion or green onion. This is the star of the whole show. This popular veggie becomes the celebrity during the entire winter season in various events of the town, in restaurants and grills, or in a comfortable apartment with family or friends.
The barbeque grill is essential in order to prepare calçots and they are served as a first course with a toast that is homemade and covered in olive oil, tomatoes and salt. The second meal is also fully grilled, and it mainly includes Catalan spiced pork and lamb chop as well as sausage, chicken, beef, rabbit and several other seasonal vegetables.
The dessert of this tradition includes fresh oranges with scrumptious homemade pastries combined with orange-cream filling.
The calçots are specially grown in order to eat during the Calçotada. In order to prepare these, they make a barbeque fire in which the green onions are cooked in a metal net on high flame. When the calçots are fully prepared, they are then covered in the newspaper so that they remain warm. This is also a social activity as people join each other and, usually, drink red wine. On the other side of the grill, meat barbeque is made so that they can have a more abundant meal.
The way of eating:
Not only the preparation is a ritual, but the way they eat the calçots is also very interesting. People do not use fork or scissors, instead, they eat the calçots with their bare hands and as the calçots are burnt from the outside, people get messy at the end of their meal. The ritual of eating the calçots starts from peeling the onions by grabbing them with your hands and then dipping them into a special sauce called “Romesco Sauce” made with almonds and roasted red peppers, and then you put them in your mouth trying to save your clothes from the dripping sauce. The ritual is quite challenging and then people have wine from a special jar called “porron”. Drinking wine directly from a porron is also another ritual that’s messy but fun.
No matter how dirty you get, this tradition offers a unique experience. We guarantee that it is nothing like you have ever witnessed before. If you’re visiting Barcelona during the Calçotada season, we invite you to get dirty and have the time of your life in this spectacular city with the locals.