Cool Wine Doings: Calçotada & tour at Torre del Veguer
We were recently contacted by Joanna Cybulski, one of our followers on twitter, about where to hold a traditional Calçotada for her, her husband Ross Hutchison, and group of folks Ross is working with in Barcelona. We gave Joanna several recommendations in DO Penedes and DO Alella, as they wanted to be close to Barcelona for the event. After Joanna saw the original sketches and artwork by Dali, and a castle dating back to the 14th century, she selected Torre del Veguer.
Now we’re unabashed fans of Joquin, Joaquim, Marta and Raquel at Torre del Veguer after several visits and collaborations with them in 2014 and 2015, but I must say, they really outdid themselves for this traditional Calçotada.
So what’s a Calçot or a Calçotada? It’s a traditional sweet onion typically available early in the year, up until end of March. Calçots are a sweet onion developed at the turn of the 20th century by a peasant farmer from Valls, using a different process to grow, creating a larger onion, like a leek, and a sweeter onion. Every year beginning in late January., festivals happen in Tarragona, Catalunya and a big festival in Valls — where it all started — called a Calçotada.
How do you eat Calçots? They’re barbecued up, wrapped in newspaper, served on Terra Cotta tiles, and dipped in romesco sauce. Favourite accompaniments to Calçots are red wines and cava!
Joanna’s husband, Ross Hutchison, is a private chef, and was excited about participating in this Calçotada. His group thoroughly enjoyed the experience at Torre del Veguer, and the staff at Torre del Veguer were outstanding through the whole process. The caterer they brought in, Coquo Catering from Vilanova i la Geltru, did an amazing job of the food and especially the Calçots. Many of the crew were eating Calçots for the first time, with some doing it like professionals, and others struggling just a little bit to pull off the outer skin successfully.
Coquo Catering not only cooked the traditional lamb, the beans, the calçots, but they also had barbecued artichoke, several kinds of sausage including botifarra, entrecot, and a gorgeous creme de Catalan for dessert. There wasn’t a hungry person at the event with such a spread.
With dinner extravaganza inside the castle at Torre del Veguer in the gorgeous 16th century hearth room, and dessert outside basking under the Mediterranean sun, it was certainly an unforgettable afternoon, one that Michael and I won’t soon forget.
If you’re looking to do a group event close to Barcelona, we highly recommend Torre del Veguer not only for their amazing wines, but also their amazing experience.
Also check out Coquo Catering at their Facebook page, where you’ll find some great photos of their past creations. If you’re looking for a private chef experience in Mallorca, be sure to visit Ross Hutchison’s Private Chef Mallorca. You might be able to convince him to come to the mainland!