Calçots and calçotada - food

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. Calçots are grown in various areas of Catalonia, Spain using special growing techniques to bring out their sweet taste. The season for calçots begins in November and ends in April and but peak season is February and that is when you will see calçots on the menu in Catalan restaurants and find festivals. One of the biggest festivals is the Gran Festa de la Calçotada de Valls in the town Valls. This festival attracts around 40,000 calçot fans and is always on the last weekend of January. Valls prides itself on being origin of the calçot world and the calçots from Valls in Tarragona region are even a registered EU Protected geographical indication (PGI)

What are calçots

A calçot is a variety of giant scallion (a variety of young onion) known as "Blanca Grande Tardana" from Lleida. The special growing method is that calçots are grown covered in earth, so that the edible part remains white and the vulva does not develop. They then sprout into something that looks like small leeks.

History of calçots

The origin of Calçots is not documented precisely and is somewhat 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.

How to eat calçots

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 and hot business but istripping and eating calçots with your fingers is the best way. Basically you peel off the charred outer skin, dip the inside in a tangy romesco / salvitxada "salsa de calçots" sauce and then lower the sweet succulent white plant into your mouth. 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. After grilling the calçots it is usual to throw some meats, like lamb, pork chops, botifarras and other Catalan sausages called "embutidos," on the grill too.


Porrón wine pitcher

To wash all this down drink Catalan "vin negre" red wine or cava preferably in a messy way from the typical porrón (Catalan: porró) wine pitcher. This is a great opportunity for Catalans to go a little mad and bring out 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 trait of 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. You can find many merenderos near Barcelona like, Font Les Planes 

Or just order a Calçots menu at a restaurant. There are several restaurants in Barcelona that serve Calçots.

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Last Updated on Monday, 05 February 2024 10:57