CALÇOTS: Catalan spring onion!
Wintertime is the calçots season in Catalonia: both a social event and a culinary experience for the locals!
Calçots are a Catalan spring onion harvested in the winter. Catalan people organize “calçotades” with their friends and families, what could be socially considered our equivalent to summer American BBQs.
For this calçots season party, we get together and buy literally hundreds of units of this Catalan spring onion (one serving is around 10-12 calçots). We grill them in the barbecue until they are quite burnt outside, and we traditionally serve them on roof tiles to preserve the heat.
Here is what I teach my clients when we go eating calçots in a tapas bar during the calçots season.
Here is our guide to eating calçots like a pro, in 5 steps:
Before starting eating calçots, put on a bib (if you are eating them in a restaurant, they’ll provide them for you). You’ll understand why later…
Now grab your calçot and pinch the root end of it with your fingers.
Pull the burnt skin out. It’s the easiest way to clean calçots. Your fingers will quickly get black from the ashes: don’t worry now, you’ll be able to wash your hands when the meal is over.
Keep grabbing the calçot by the green leaves, lift up your arm and aim the calçot at your mouth. Be careful with the sauce drops!
So you see, eating calçots is a fun (but a bit messy) tradition!
AND BONUS! Where can you eat calçots when you come to Barcelona?
Where can you eat calçots? If you are not lucky enough to be invited by local friends, you can go eating calçots in most good tapas bars and traditional Catalan restaurants, and even in some market bars. Here are our recommended restaurants for calçots.
But if you have an extra day left, I recommend you to take the RENFE train to Valls, the hometown of Calçots.