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Calçots and calçotada E-mail

Calçots and calçotada Barcelona

Tenim Calçots! We have calçots! Calçots are a traditional and very tasty Catalan dish and eating them is a true Catalan tradition. A calçot is a vegetable similar to spring onions or leeks and they are grown in various areas of Catalonia Spain using special growing techniques to bring out their sweet taste.  A calçot is a variety of giant scallion known as "Blanca Grande Tardana" from Lleida. The special growing method is that they are grown covered in earth, so that the edible part remains white and the vulva does not develop. They sprout into something that looks like small leeks. You will often see calçots on the menu in many catalan restaurants from January to end of April. 

History of calçots. The origin of Calçots is not documented precisely and is disputed. A common belief, however, is that that they were developed at the start of the 20th century by a peasant farmer from the area of Valls near Barcelona called Xat de Benaiges. The became known in Catalan as to "calçar." in Catalan this means to "to wear or dress" - and now is an agricultural term which means to cover the trunk of a plant or vegetable with soil. This is where he name calçot is derived. The calçots from Valls in Tarragona today are a registered EU Protected Geographical Indication.

The most popular way to prepare Calçots is to have a outdoor barbeque "calçotada." At a calçotada you grill lots of calçots on a charcoal vine barbeque. Eating them is a dirty, messy, hot business but it is best to strip and eat calçots with your fingers. Pull off the charred outer skin and enjoy the sweet succulent white plant beneath. It's easiest to get at the the long slim white firm fleshy edible part by holding the base of the calçot then pulling the green leaves aways. Calçots are eaten by dipping them in a tangy romesco or salvitxada "salsa de calçots" sauce and then lowered dripping with the sauce into the mouth. 

After grilling the calçots it is usual to throw meats like lamb, pork chops, botifarras and other Catalan sausages called "embutidos" on the grill. To wash all this down drink lots of Catalan "vin negre" red wine and cava preferably in a messy way from "porró" wine pitcher. This is a great opportunity for Catalans to go a little mad and display the "rauxa" foolish and reckless side of the Catalan personality (which is the opposite of the Catalan "seny" which is consider an ancient inborne Catalan  wisdom or common sense. If you don't have a place to make your own then head for a "merendero" outdoor picnic area which provide barbeque facilities if you want to try yourself or just order a Calçots menu. You can find many merenderos near Barcelona like Font Les Planes or Merendero El Pinar.

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