Honour a beloved Catalan onion with feasting and fiesta aplenty…
From launching tomatoes to charging bulls, the Spanish love a quirky festival…and Calçotada has to be one of the quirkiest of them all.
This lively fiesta celebrates the calçot - a beloved Catalan veggie, resembling both spring onion and leek - and is basically another excuse for a party. So where better to join in than acclaimed Spanish restaurant Porta Tapas? The popular venue, based on Salford’s Chapel Street, will be hosting a traditional shindig on Sunday 8th March and it promises to be a belter.
Calçots have a mild, sweet taste; great when grilled over flames and charred for a little smokiness. While they’re grilling on the barbeque, Porta will get your taste buds going with a couple of small plates: pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread) - a national favourite that sees toasted flatbread rubbed with garlic, tomato and a drizzle of olive oil - and empedrat, a delicious salad of salt cod, chickpeas, tomato and olives.
Calçots ready, next is the main event - it’s time to get hands-on...First, grab your grilled calçot and peel back the charred outer layer. Drag the sweet juicy innards through some rich, nutty romesco sauce and gobble it up. Then repeat until there are no more calçots left. It’s fun, it’s messy and it’s all washed down with plenty of wine. Like all the best things are.
After that, Porta will be grilling some botifarra, a tasty Catalan pork sausage, and serving it traditionally with some braised white beans.
Finally, how else to round off proceedings than with crema Catalana? This Spanish version of crème brûlée - citrussy, cinnamony custard topped with crunchy caramelised sugar - promises a tantalising finale to a feast like no other.
Fancy sampling this unique celebration? Calçotada at Porta costs just £25, including the menu below…
Pa amb tomàquet
Traditional Catalan salad
Calçots y romesco
Calçots and romesco sauce
Botifarra amb mongetes
Speciality pork sausage with braised white beans
Classic crème dessert