What is a Calçotada?
There is no day during the winter in which a “calçotada” is not celebrated in Catalonia. This community feast has become the perfect plan for a party or gathering with friends, family or as a couple. Calçots originate from the city of Valls (Tarragona) and became popular in the mid-20th century, turning into a tradition mainly in the months of February and March. Are you hungry?
The calçot is nothing more than an elongated white onion, which gets that shape from the way it is cultivated, leaving it half buried and covering it as it grows. This action is called “calçar” and hence the name “calçot”. Its cooking does not hide any secret. A good live fire of vine shoots is needed, the calçots are placed without cleaning and without removing the dust on a grill and roast until they start leaking water. Once they are well burned on the outside (yes, we said burned), they are wrapped in groups of 10 to 15 units in newspaper and stored in a box to keep the heat and soften. And so on until they are all cooked. With the embers that remain we will prepare the second course, traditionally grilled lamb meat and sausages.
Its preparation has no mystery but this is what we are going to need mainly:
- 15 or 20 calçots per person
- Calçots sauce
- Lamb meat and sausages
- Newspaper and roof clay tiles to serve
- A bib for those who do not want to stain
- Dessert for the most gluttonous
The calçots are served in the newspaper we used to wrap them and inside a clay tile. We will also need a lot of sauce to dip the calçots known as salvitxada or alternatively romesco sauce. And here the good begins. We will take the calçot by its green part and with the other hand we will surround the blackened part and remove it by dragging it downwards. We will have the lower part of the calçot in “white” and the hand in “black”, we will soak the white part in the sauce and, being very careful not to stain ourselves, we will lift the calçot and enjoy the incredible flavor.
After the calçots, the meat will come and only the bravest will reach dessert. You can't miss country bread to coat and a good red wine to wash it all down. We don’t rule out that after all this you will maybe need a good nap. Enjoy it!