The Popular cook recently awarded as “Friend of Calçotada”, called the Calçots Contest as an uncivilized event.
Calçots are the Catalan version of scallion or green onion but they are much larger in size and milder than the normal onion. Those found in Valls, Tarragona are registered as a protected geographical indication by the EU. They are a unique culinary customs that Catalonians are very fond of. They are harvested from the start of November and continues all the way through April. Though the Calçotada season starts in the same period and the festival originally used to take place from February to March. This changed after it turned out to become very popular and therefore the citizens decided to extend the period of the event. Traditionally, the Catalan version of cooking Calçots is by grilling them over flames and then wrapped around newspapers in order to make them tender. When served, diners would usually peel the outer layer and dip the Calçots in a special dip called Salvitxada (o salsa Romesco), made of almonds, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, vinegar and oil.
The Calçotada Festival (Gran Festa de la Calçotada de Valls) is a traditional and promotional day around the “calçot”. During the party in the streets and squares of Valls (Tarragona) there will be a varied program of popular acts, parades, cooking demonstrations of “calçots” on the grill, contests of “calçots”, tastings, folk dances, etc. So we can say that the “calçot” is a voice of the Catalan language and symbol of a culture as well as an emblematic dishes of the Catalan gastronomy.
Have a look to the winner of the 2016 Edition!
In the last edition of the festival, during the Calçotada eating contest, participants were asked to eat as many Calçots as possible and the winner should have eaten at least 295 onions (equals to 2.5 kilos). Chef Ada Parellada, owner of the restaurant Semproniana Barcelona and activist of healthy eating habits, made a critical statements regarding this event, which is the star attraction of the Great Calçotada Festival.
However, as Parellada was part of the jury’s panel and responsible of judging the validity of the contest, she questioned the rationality of the competition on RAC1 radio station, claiming “it’s a little barbaric” as well as “it is not very civilized“.
Parellada, in contradiction to what she previously stated, admitted later that the purpose of the contest does sound “very attractive” to the public as it brings over 60,000 people together, while also posting a video of the event and quoting “impressive“. Furthermore she made another contradiction hours after the video was posted, clarifying: “No contest excites me“.
Last year, Parellada was awarded with the St George Cross, in recognition for her culinary career. Three months prior to this award, she was the guest of a ceremony where she was honoured with the “Amiga of the authentic Calçotada”, a recognition promoted by the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) of Calçots in Valls.
This seems to us a very strange behaviour that should give to the PGI time to think about the possibility of inventing a new award for the “Worst enemy of calçots”. The festival, may have anything but modernity to it, but we think that it’s a very interesting and entertaining event to take part in, a way for tourists to learn more about the catalan traditions and take part in activities that are not normally seen in modern times.
If in this way there is a possibility to reach more people and let them understand more about the catalan traditions and habits that can be promoted all over the world, why being so critical?
The research of the authentical experience is what people are looking for nowadays, and this include “uncivilised traditions”.
So what do you think about applying for the next edition of the Great Calçotada Festival?
And if you want, make a comment down here to give your opinion about it!
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