The Calçotada “Getting dirty”

By April 13, 2014 Fiestas, Food No Comments
The Calçotada

The Calçotada is always alfresco and always for Lunch. People arrive around one (the more the merrier ,this is not food for two) but never get to eat much before two, lunch for Catalan people is never to be rushed and a Calçotada takes a minimum of three hours. Long tables are laid and people sit in the sunshine, awaiting the arrival of the CALÇOTS. They have been Barbequed until black an hour earlier and left to steam wrapped tightly in newspaper . So, how to eat the thing?? Well, a calçot is grasped firmly in the left hand by its blackened base, the inner green leaves at the top are grasped in the right , pull the green leaves slipping them out of the black outer which is then discarded. Voilà!!! The glistening white part is now dipped in the Salsa per Calçot  and lowered into the mouth with the head thrown back. The white park bitten off before the green part starts. Eating calçots is an art form for most Catalans, many people eating twenty or more at each sitting. It is a very dirty activity and the less practiced wear bibs to avoid some of the charred bits ending up down their fronts. Messy in the extreme! It is necessary to retire frequently to the pump to rinse down. Following the calçots they serve grilled botifarra sausages with white beans and alliolli or grilled lamb chops. You toast your own bread on the smouldering BBQ coals; all this is washed down with copious amounts of local red wine. For dessert local cakes or ice cream, cava and then coffee with assorted liquors. The Calçotada sums up the Catalan attitude to life and food, people sitting around in the midst of  tables heaped with the tangled black and green remains of the calçots, their hands blackened, faces smeared with pinkish sauce. Not worried how they look or what anyone might think chatting, laughing and totally at ease. This whole scene is the perfect definition to me of the vivacious, vivid and sensuous relationship with eating the Catalans have, in this society it is all right to love food. See you at the Calçotada!

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