Calçots

A few weekends ago, before we ran off to Vancouver for a week (photos are mostly of family), we finally made the time to go and eat calçots, a Catalan specialty. Calçots are essentially a big green onion, slightly more bulbous than a leek and a touch longer. They are in season between winter and mid-late March and are traditionally eaten at a calçotada.  The onions are barbecued until the skins turn a deep burnt black and are then served with romesco sauce as an accompaniment.   They are served family style on massive platters and are meant to be devoured, we were provided with bibs and rubber gloves to facilitate the process.

Though they can be found in the city, we had been told that it’s best to try to get to a small caseta in the countryside or a small town.  Our friend Terry who gave us that advice organised a day of it and we went off to Altafulla, a small town about 1 hour down the coast towards Tarragona.  We ended up being a fairly diverse group of 17 people if we count the 5 kids who came, the two sets of visitors who were here (one set from Glasgow and one from New York), ourselves and our friends, a couple of whom grew up in Barcelona.

Those who grew up here or at least loved here longer, went at them with much more abandon, leaving an overflowing pile of crusty skins on the plate.  I ate a few, maybe 6 onions in total, leaving room for the 2nd course and trying to avoid the repercussions of eating masses of onions.  I’m glad I did, as at the typical calçotada the calçots are followed by a smattering of meat and white beans.  Let’s just say I’m a long way from being vegetarian these days, I could write an entire blog post on butiffara (catalan sausage alone).

Needless to say we were pretty stuffed at the end of it all.  Thankfully it was a stunningly beautiful day and we were able to rest on the beach for a bit before heading home on the train. We ended up having to stand the entire way home as it was unseasonably warm and apparently all of Barcelona wanted to enjoy the weather on the coast.  It was tough, but we managed 🙂 The rest of the photos are here.

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