Eating "calçots" in Tarragona

Written by El Casal de Barcelona on . Posted in Blog


Zoe tries a calçot. Good thing she’s got a bib!

February and March can be cold and drizzly in Barcelona, but it’s also calçot season and the thought of wolfing down a dozen or so of these tender onion shoots, grilled outdoors over an open fire, is enough to brighten even the grayest of Catalonian days

The calçots are harvested only at this time of year, making them a seasonal treat that few of Barcelona’s millions of annual visitors can enjoy. The calçots are the first course in the traditional calçotada; the onions--which are eaten with the fingers and dipped in romescu sauce—are followed by grilled lamb chops, botifarra sausages and other traditional dishes. Everything is washed down with red wine and topped off by crema catalana, the local version of crème brûlée. The really fun part, though, is eating the calçots. Not for the fastidious, eating them is a messy affair (bibs highly recommended) and one’s fingers become completely blackened after stripping off the charred outer layers of the shoots in order to get to the tender and sweet insides. Drink enough wine and you won’t care.