Between December and April Catalonians honour the season of calçots with a calçotada and this March we’ll be celebrating with them in the heart of London!
You may be wondering what calçots are? They’re a variety of spring onion that grow in Catalonia and taste more like a leek than an onion. The traditional way of cooking them is over a charcoal grill until they’re completely charred. Don’t be put off by their burnt appearance because once the outer layer is peeled away, a delicious soft and sweet centre remains.
Calçots have been growing in Catalonia for centuries. Their exact discovery has been disputed but the most popular explanation involves a farmer in Valls. Legend has it he began cultivating calçots in a special way, covering part of them with earth so a section remained white and therefore edible. This process is known as ‘calçar’ in Catalan, hence the word ‘calçot’. During a calçotada, calçots aren’t the only thing thrown over the fire. There are also mounds of grilled meat which people wash down with red wine from a porrón (a traditional glass pitcher used to drink from great heights).
We spoke to our Sales Manager Jordi who’s from Tarragona, a town near Valls which takes la calçotada very seriously. “When I think of a calçotada the words friendship, family, and smoke immediately come to mind! I love being handed smokey calçots wrapped in newspaper and dipping them in my grandma’s salsa romesco which she makes specially for the celebration.” As he reminisced he began to laugh and added “there’s also nothing better than seeing your boss covered in sauce and ash, knocking back wine with a porrón, having lost all his inhibitions”.
Eating calçots can get a little messy but that’s part of the fun and experience. If you’re feeling brave we recommend you dip the peeled calçot into our romesco sauce, tilt your head back and lower it into your mouth in one go. Try and see if you can do it the Catalan way!
We’ll be serving calçots from the 4th of March for one month only.