Festival of calçotada, the barbecued onion
The calçot (pronounced calzot), from the valencian language, is the name of a kind of onion growing produced near the Valencia coast but it is also the name for the most popular and typical food in Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia.
If you are in one of those areas between the final of winter and the beginning of spring period, I will recommend to try this local barbecued onion. Originally, the name is given because of the way to cultivate it by piling up land on sprouts that grow of the base of the onion from the valencian word “calçar”. By this way, the farmer gets a white stern of approximately between 20 and 25 cm.
In Barcelona, there are places where you can go but I will
say that the best is to come when it celebrates a special popular festival called “calçotada popular de l’Eixample”. Not only you will eat a lot of calçots but also other typical foods of Catalonia like sausages, bread with tomatoes… Moreover, you will see some cultural exhibitions like castells (human castle), stick dance… and why not, participate to a football match with local people too.
Protected by a guarantee of origin, the calçots of La Plana (a region of Valencia) are cooked on flame and not on red hot coal. Once the external layers are black, half opened and there is a little foam, it is time to remove them and to put them in newspaper. In fact, they have to be wrapped with a lot of papers in order to end the cooking by its own heat during more or less 30 minutes. In each newspaper, it should have about 25 calçots.
After that, time to eat them, to do so, you will have to remove the black layers and to dip them in a special sauce called salvitxada, a kind of romesco sauce in a catalan style. And the red hot coal is used to cook grilled meats, sausages… to accompany the vegetable without forgetting wine and water.
This local festival always occurs in front of the nativity façade of the Sagrada Familia the first saturday of march each year so if you don’t want to miss it, you will have to be in Barcelona during this weekend. To know the price and more complementary information, you can check its official website (only in catalan).