This post is not strickly about Calçotada, but about the messy joy that life can be. Calçotada is local delicacy; a unique type of sweet onion that grows in this part of Catalonia and harvested around the beginning of February. And then something very strange happens … the onions (which look like tender young leaks) are heaped up on grill over a fire and burned till they are almost charred. Served on an upturned terracotta tile the vegetable is bought on your table and you pick one up with your fingers and hold it from the top, then you simply pull on the root end and pull down the outer layer (bit like removing a sock)revealing the succulent, sweet, caramelised flesh which is simply delicious. You dip the Calçots in a red sauce (similar to Romesco), bring it to your mouth and eat it!
So where are the photos? I was so taken with the whole peeling – eating experience of eating the Calçots that I momentarily forgot my duty as a blogger so I will need to revisit the subject next year. When I finally remembered my camera, it was nearly over. Our bibs were covered in sooth and dribbled sauce as we munched out way through piles of the stuff (notice the plural – you NEVER never eat Calçots on your own but always in good company) washed down by plenty of local red wine drunken from a porrón.
After the Calçots came grilled sausages and beans drizzled in olive oil, artichokes an lam cutlet and it was all gloriously finished off the the most intensely rich crema catalana I have ever tasted. Beautiful!
For more information on the gastronomical delicacy that is Calçotada see this entry on the Lonely Planet website