What is a calçotada? It is a typical Catalan event in late winter/early spring time where calçots are barbecued along with meat and a delicious sauce. Calçots are a mix between leeks and onions which are surprisingly quite good. Groups of friends and family gather round at this winter festival in Catalonia between January and April. I went to my first calçotada of the year two weeks ago at El Jardin de l’Apat.
Calçots are messy and restaurants normally put on disposable gloves for you and a bib. It is fun though, there is a certain way to eat the calcots too, simply peel off the outer layer, dip it in romesco sauce and enjoy. They are grilled over charcoal and then put in newspaper to keep them soft and warm before being eaten. Apparently there are millions of these leek/onions sold every year in Catalonia.
It cost 33 Euros for calçots (up to as many as 10), one big slide of bread with tomato, followed by the bbq which was vegetables with sausage, chicken and lamb. To drink, there was cava, wine, plus a coffee. The meal also came with a dessert. It was a warm sunny day and we all sat outside on the terrace. It was free to make a reservation, we arrived at 14:00 and the service was so quick, that we had finished the meal by 16:00. I would definitely recommend going here.
Nearest station: AlfonsX
I also had a calçotada at my friend’s house. We went food shopping, bought all the ingredients and made our calçotada. It worked out slightly cheaper and it was fun to make our own bbq, but with bbq, there is a lot of mess.
You might also find “popular” calçotadas, which are organised in local neighborhoods. From 12 euros you can have the calçots, buttifara and bread with tomato, plus wine. The tables and chairs are lined in the streets or in the local square. The calçotada starts on time, so if you are going, make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes before to reserve your space at the table. You can also bring your own drinks and snacks.
There are just a few weeks left of the season, so if you have not gone to a calçotada yet, make sure you book on in before the season ends.