If you´ve ever been to Catalunya between January and March you will have heard of the famous Calçotada…or maybe not.
La calçotada comes from the word calçot which is a type of green onion which is much milder than your typical onion and a calçotada is a meal in which you eat these onions usually in a rural setting. Between the months of January and March all over catalunya families and friends will cook the calçots outdoors over a fire or head to a rural restaurant in catalunya to enjoy them. Once the calçots have been cooked the coals from the fire are used to cook meats to enjoy as the second course.
There are many stories as to how the calçotada started and who started it. The most popular one is about a man called Xat de Benaiges. Xat de Benaiges was a farmer in the 14th century from a small town called Valls which is around 12km West of Tarragona. He had a few calçots that weren’t looking particularly appetizing so he threw them onto the fire thinking he had nothing to lose and he discovered how delicious his idea was. The year after during calçot season he has his whole town eating them the same way and this began to spread all over catalunya.
So every year all over Catalunya including Barcelona you will find that restaurants offer Calçotades. However before you go and try one out you should know that there are some rules to eating this tasty vegetable:
- You must always peel away the first layer of a calçot before eating it.
- The calçot is served with a sauce known as “la salvitxada”or sometimes romescu. NEVER dip the entire calçot into the sauce, you only dip the end.
- NEVER EVER EVER peel or eat a calçot with a knife and fork or any form of cutlery, this is considered completely unacceptable.
- A calçotada is not the place to wear the new jumper you just bought or your favorite t-shirt, it can get messy.
- Speaking of messy, you may be offered an adult sized bib to eat your calçots. This is considered acceptable, however plastic gloves are not!
This post was written by Ana Adamson Shelly, SAI Barcelona Assistant Coordinator.