A calcotada in Barcelona (calçotada) means that finally, spring is here!
For many Catalans, this means going to a winter barbeque called a calçotada to eat calçots.
So what is a calçot?
It is like a big spring onion which tastes more like a leek with a much milder taste, usually roasted and then dipped in a delicious romesco sauce.
If you know any locals, you might get invited to a a farm where they grow the calçots themselves. I consider myself lucky that I’ve only done these outdoors.
I go to a calçotada every year, and the biggest one I’ve been to was with a group of 70 people at a farm just outside Barcelona.
It’s a very social affair, starting with an aperitivo – starters such as pintxos, beer, wine, salad.
Then the battle begins!
Steaming calcots wrapped in newspapers arrive at the table and you are expected to eat between 10-15 each.
Afterwards, there are also roasted vegetables, grilled meat, sausages called botifarra amb mongetes (Catalan sausages cooked with small white beans with garlic and parsley).
To end, we had some cake and hot chocolate of course! It was freezing outside.
It is a great afternoon out with friends in the countryside.
There is plenty of food, wine, and even some dancing if you’re lucky! I am usually stuffed after eating the calçots then the meat course comes, then the grilled artichokes and other vegetables, and the beans. It’s like one massive food fair.
Note that this is unique to Catalonia and not practiced elsewhere in Spain. The season runs from end of January until the beginning of April.
If you would like to try calçots the traditional way grilled, I can recommend this traditional Catalan restaurant: Restaurante Taverna El Glop
If you’re here around this time, contact us and also check if we’re hosting a special edition of our Barcelona food tour.