A Calçotada is a gastronomical event in Catalonia that equals both laughter and… bad breath! But what else would you expect from an event that is all about eating and celebrating calçots, a type of green onion found only in the Catalonia region of Spain?
The Calçotada starts with getting the calçots ready for stringing on a metal wire, which makes them easier to turn, explained our calçot chef for the day, Lee Pennington, but not before we have some fun first:
Dali had his fun with eggs, I have my fun with calçots, but enough playing around, I’m hungry! Time to grill the calçots – 5 minutes per side. Not to worry if they’re black since you peel off the outer layer anyway:
Now for the best part…eating the calçots. I held a competition before the Calçotada, Calçot Eating Contest in Catalonia where readers guessed how many calçots I could eat. Guesses ranged from 1 all the way to 529 – I guess I must look like I can really pack away my food to some readers! I ate a grand total of 6 (I later found out the average is 10 per person)! I enjoyed the calçots, but they weren’t something I could gorge myself on – much too healthy for my tastes, although milder tasting than I had anticipated! Nobody correctly guessed 6, but the closest was Sophie who guessed 5 and who has won herself a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Congrats @SophieR!
In many ways a Calçotada reminded me of a North American style BBQ, a casual get together at someone’s house, where all the guests bring something, hang out, eat grilled food and enjoy the good weather – except that an invitation to a Calçotada can be hard to score. Several days after the Calçotada I mentioned in passing to someone from Madrid that I had been to a Calçotada. “You’re so lucky! I’ve been living in Catalonia for 5 years and STILL haven’t been to one.” I decided now was not the time to tell her that the Calçotada hadn’t been held at just any old house, but had been held at Can Grau, a luxurious villa in rural Catalonia with stunning old world charm.
Also, unlike a BBQ, instead of pounding back beer, guests take their turn at pouring wine down their gullets. I made a feeble attempt by holding the vessel close to my mouth but still managed to dribble red wine all over my face and down my shirt. Here is Richard, from Charming Villas who along with his Catalonian wife Sara, kindly hosted our Calçotada, showing how it’s really done:
It appears that I had a lot to learn about being a Catalonian, but I’ll keep my calendar open for any Calçotada invites that come my way. I’m more than happy to practice, I won’t eat too many calçots, I’m a cheap drunk and I promise to bring chewing gum for all your guests!
This post has been submitted to WanderFood Wednesdays, which you see more mouth watering food posts.