Calçot is a type of scallion or green onion known as calçot in the Catalan language from Girona, Catalonia. The calçot from Valls (Tarragona, Catalonia) is a registered EU Protected Geographical Indication.
Calçots are milder and less bulbous than onions and have a length of between 15 and 25 cm (white part) and a diameter of 1.7 to 2.5 cm at the root. Planted in trenches, like an onion, as a single bulb, and successively increasing the depth of the soil around the stems throughout autumn and winter, they sprout into 4-10 shoots, roughly the shape of small leeks.
Calçotada is an annual event in Tarragona, Catalonia celebrating the harvest of Calçots. They are grilled over a hot fire, wrapped up in newspaper, served on terra cotta tiles and eaten after peeling with bare hands by dipping them one by one in romesco sauce, accompanied by red wine and bread. Then follows a course of roasted lamb and sausage and white beans. For dessert, oranges and white cava are served.
The origin of the variety is disputed, but one of the most commonly accepted versions [unsubstantiated] of its history is that they were developed by Xat de Benaiges, a peasant farmer from Valls around the turn of the 20th century. He is said to have been the first to have planted the sprouts of garden onions, covering them with earth so a longer portion of the stems remained white and edible. That action is known in Catalan as calçar, (a Catalan agricultural term which means to cover the trunk of a plant or vegetable with soil. As the plant grows, soil is continuously added, i.e., “calçar”), hence the name calçot.
he most traditional way of eating calçots is at a calçotada (plural: calçotades), an annual gastronomical celebration held between November and April, where barbecued calçots are consumed in massive quantities.
Calçots are grilled until charred, wrapped in newspaper to steam, then consumed by peeling off the charred skin and dipping the white portion in salvitxada or romesco sauce. The green tops are discarded. The calçots are accompanied by red wine or cava sparkling wine. Pieces of meat and bread slices are roasted in the charcoal after cooking the calçots
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