Spring is here, and the sunlight jolts everything into life once again.
Recently, our Catalan friend, Joan, invited us to his yearly "calçotada". For anyone who is unfamiliar with this tradition, a calçotada is a shallot-leek fest, although I have not found any real equivalent outside Catalonia. Here, they are grown from onions seeds until long and slender, like leeks.
Calçots are cooked over an open fire until they are charred black.
They are served in bundles of newspaper in the middle of the table, and you pull them out of their skins and dip them in a sauce made from peppers, garlic, nuts and olive oil.
Then comes the barbecued meat. And lots of wine.
But, really, a calçotada is about talking to people you hardly know in the open air while getting filthy together.
Beforehand, I felt jittery as I knew hardly anybody. But pretty quickly, we were introduced to lots of other calçot eaters.
The kids and the dogs relaxed in the afternoon sun.
Cheers Joan; thanks for your Catalan hospitality!