The Fat Green Onion Fest or Eating Calçots : Spanish Customs and Traditions

Calçot party, get your bib on!

Calçot party, get your bib on!

By Regina Winkle-Bryan

When I became a vegetarian 16 years ago, my BBQ options became pretty limited. But here in Catalonia I have found a char-broiled festival that is right up my alley. Yes, it’s calçots season once more in Catalonia, which means a couple delicious months of barbequing green onions in the countryside.

For those who haven’t heard, a calçot is a sort of long green onion which is nice and fat in February and March – so right now! The tradition is to go to a ‘masia’, or country farmhouse restaurant, where they char these onions by the ton on the BBQ. You are served the calçots on a ceramic roofing tile upon which they are piled up in a steaming heap of blackened-goodness.

The process is messy. Calçot eaters must peel the onions and then dip them in red romesco sauce, which may be the best sauce in the world. All of this goes along with wine drinking and large slabs of toasted bread smothered in olive oil and tomato. After gorging on calçots, the real BBQ comes out, and diners are brought plates full of sausages, rabbit, lamb and other grilled meats. This is accompanied by more wine, and veggies. Then just when you think you will explode, they bring on the dessert and the cava.

Want more on where to eat like a local in Catalonia? We’ve got the scoop here.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Ahh. I have to get out there to try these. This sounds like the best bbq in the world! I need to stop thinking about it! Jealous…

  2. admin
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    it may be!

  3. Posted March 5, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    These are so good! I was lucky enough to get to try them years ago, and they were delicious. I’ve been wanting some ever since, but they don’t have them in Navarra.

  4. admin
    Posted March 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    That’s because the Catalans eat them all. Calcots are delicious but sadly they also have a terrible side effect: gas. Don’t eat these on a date.

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