A day in the life in Catalonia: Calçotada3 min read

The people who visited Catalonia might know what a calçotada is. For the people that don’t know what it is, calçots are like spring onions that are prepared on open fire and are served in roof tiles. Well, that’s quickly explained. In fact, there is a lot more to it than just eating burnt onions.

Who’s telling the story?

Before I tell you about my first calçotada ever, I will introduce myself quickly. My name is Sanne Kroeze and I’m studying communication at the Hanze university of applied sciences. The coming 5 months I’m doing my internship at Casalunya. And because it’s my first time in Catalonia, I can look at traditions (and problems) with “fresh” eyes. That’s why you will probably read more from me the coming months. For now, let’s get started with the calçotada.

How-to-calçotada

A calçotada is a typical Catalonian tradition. It is usually held in the open nature with a group of friends and family. The calçots are prepared on fire and eaten with a special calçot sauce called romesco. Eating a calçot is harder than you think. So, you might have to watch your neighbors do it first, while the technique of “peeling” a calçot needs some practice. The black burnt layer needs to come off. The easiest way to do this, is to hold the top, put one hand around it and then slowly pull it down. This leaves the part you can eat (if you do it well).

Dutch club in Tarragona

The Dutch club in Tarragona consists of, the name kinda says it, Dutch people who live in Tarragona. This club organizes different events every month. In February, this was the calçotada in Miami Platja at the restaurant La Borda d’en Mane. Not quite the traditional way, but that doesn’t mean it’s less fun. 

Together with a friend, we were picked up by the treasurer and his wife in Tarragona. Through the grapevine we already heard that we would bring down the average age considerably. Nevertheless, we were received with open arms and felt very welcome.

A first time for everything

Before it was time for the roof tiles full of calçots, pan con tomate was served. Also typically Catalan, this is (toasted) bread rubbed with garlic, tomato and a good olive oil. Then the real deal could start. The calçots and the romesco sauce arrived on the table. Meanwhile, there was no stopping the red wine from flowing. While almost filled up from the calçots, you get another plate full of meat. And to end the Catalan feast we ate Crema Catalana. With a filled stomach and a head full of stories we were dropped off in Tarragona.

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