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Peak of calçots season kicks off with hope to sell 18m

Catalan onion tradition celebrates big day in Valls, with tens of thousands attending

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26 January 2020 04:04 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Finally, calçots are here again. One of Catalonia's most unique traditional foods, these local type of long white and green spring onions called calçots, will be the top attraction of all sort of barbecue-style gatherings in the country in the coming weeks.

The season for calçots began in November and will end in April, but its peak time symbolically began this weekend, with a great feast in Valls, western Catalonia, where this element is iconic.

The 39th Gran Festa de la Calçotada de Valls – or the 'big celebration of calçot-feast of Valls' – took place on Saturday and Sunday, with some 40,000 people flocking there.

At this celebration, visitors are every year shown how to properly cook the long vegetable over open fire, how to make the authentic sauce to accompany them, and even compete in a calçot-eating contest.

The Protected Geographic Indication (IGP) Calçot de Valls expects to grow some 18 million such peculiar scallions, which would mean an all-time best even surpassing the 16 million grown last season – the sales of calçots surpassed 15 million in 2019.

Barbecue-style celebration

The calçot is a type of long white and green spring onion that is one of the most traditional foods in Catalonia. They are in season especially between January and April each year, and it is customary to eat them barbecue-style accompanied by their own unique special sauce, similar to romesco.

It is cultivated in a special way. These onions are called 'calçots' because while they are growing the farmer has to 'calçar-les' -wrap the onions with soil- many times. This process gives 'calçots' their characteristic long shape. Valls is the center of the calçot universe.

 

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  • Some calçots being cooked during the great celebration of such feast in Valls, western Catalona, on January 26, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)

  • Some calçots being cooked during the great celebration of such feast in Valls, western Catalona, on January 26, 2020 (by Mar Rovira)

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