A trip to the world of calçots
The calçotada is one of the most popular food festivals and significant in Catalonia with more than one century. It has its rationale in the calçot, a variety of white onion, sweet and elongated eats grilled roast, salvitxada sauce and accompanied by grilled meat and good wine.
From femTurisme we propose a gastronomic route Valls, the epicenter of the spring onions and other nearby towns: Masmolets (Valls), Fontscaldes (Valls), Alcover or Montblanc where you can also enjoy a magnificent calçotada. Are not you salivating ago?
Valls, spring onions i dels Capital "casteller fet"
Valls , Tarragona, capital of the region of Alt Camp, is the place of origin of the spring onions. Connoisseurs say that this region and its geographical catchment area is the finest known. It must be true because since 1995 the production of spring onions Alt Camp, as well as the Costa Dorada, the Tarragonés and Baix Penedès, has its own quality label. To qualify for the same spring onions should be between 15 and 25 inches long and have a diameter between 1.7 and 2.5 inches.
This gastronomic route has its epicenter in Valls , where the last Sunday in January, spring onions season opens with the "Great Calçotada Festival", held since 1982.
Valls is a city that concentrates ance of the population of Alt Camp and remains in very good condition most of his important medieval past. From this period are the convent of San Francisco (now a hospital) of the Capuchins (now House of Charity) and Carmen. You can also visit monuments of later times, as archpriest of St. John Church, in Gothic style with Renaissance facade, or the Chapel of Roser. The latter has important glazed ceramic panels seventeenth century. Also, you can not miss l as Blat arcaded squares and Oli.
A Valls is considered the birthplace of spring onions because, according to legend, in the late nineteenth century a farmer in this town (Xat de Benaiges) was the first that started to cook in the embers of a fire and who devised a romesco sauce very similar to those of the present day (in Valls the salvitxada).
During the early years of the twentieth century, and progressively, spring onions became regular food for many families for the holidays, but it was mainly from the 60's when it started to become popular consumption. This was so because of the action of many restaurateurs who saw the calçotada a very attractive business.
The coup de grace gave it to travel agencies include calçotada on tourist itineraries in the area. This rather humble dish has become part of the living tradition of Catalonia and has spread to other parts of the country, which also produce and consume spring onions.
The last Sunday of January celebrates the "Great Calçotada Festival", a festive day dining serving to open the season and in the process, promote the spring onions. It has a varied program of popular tasting and attracts more and more people interested in living a more traditional style calçotada.
In addition to the spring onions, Valls is known as the birthplace and the benchmark of "colles castelleres" across the country. The city has two, the Colla Vella dels Xiquets Valls (documented in the nineteenth century) and the Juvenile Colla dels Xiquets Valls, founded in 1971. Coming soon is expected Valls becomes the seat of Casteller Museum of Catalonia, which will preserve the history of these human towers, its types, technique and most significant successes.
From Valls and seven miles down the road C-37 can approach the town of Alcover , situated on the river Glorieta. In this ancient walled city can visit the church or Puríssima Vella Sang, Romanesque and popularly known as "the Mosque".
Montblanc, medieval city
If you return to Valls and I want to visit the medieval town of Montblanc (Conca de Barbera) can take the N-240, which will allow you to go first to the people of Masmolets and Fontscaldes , added to Valls . These are two very old people, in fact, near Fontscaldes, excavations were conducted which allowed to find one of the best sets of Catalonia Iberian painted pottery.
Eventually you will come to Montblanc , the capital of the region of Conca de Barbera, a wonderful city that was the center of a medieval duchy whose old town was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1948.
It has a wall of more than 1,500 meters which makes it the most important military work medieval Catalonia. As curious comment that, according to legend, the fight between Saint George and the Dragon took place right in front of these walls.
Apart from the ramparts on Montblanc must visit San Francisco Church, the thirteenth century Catalan Gothic style, the Romanesque bridge and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the fourteenth century.
Visit Renau, Bràfim, Montferri and Solomon
If you wish to extend a little path from Valls , we recommend visiting three small towns in the Alt Camp and one of Tarragona, for it to leave Valls must take the TV-235 and will come to Renau , a small village where you can visit the Agricultural Cooperative of Sant Isidre, noucentista modernist, and taste a good wine or champagne in the area.
Leaving Renau you can divert to the left to reach Bràfim , a small town that extends to the right of the river Gaia, and where you will find precious few places near the Shrine of the Mother of God of Loreto. Come out of Bràfim taking the road of Santes Creus and you can make a stop at Montferri , a village where, in addition to the medieval architecture, is the beautiful modernist shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat.
Finally grab toward Solomon , (region of Tarragona) where you can visit the church of St. Mary of Solomon, well known because every May 3 held inside the Dance of Sant Crist, popular representation of a medieval legend which tells the Invention of the Holy Cross.
The perfect calçotada
To taste a calçotada "cal com", you need some good coals, spring onions from Valls , or salvitxada romesco sauce to accompany lamb, bread, aioli and a good wine. For dessert, it is customary to enjoy a homemade crème brûlée.
Once cooked, spring onions are wrapped in paper and placed on a tile. This is done to conserve heat better. Surely receive and put a bib to avoid mancharos (some restaurants also offer plastic gloves) at this point I will just dip them in a little sauce to taste them before.
NOTICE: You eat with your hands. Although tradicionamente grew up, is now more common to eat spring onions at the table, if you can be with a good group of friends or family accompanied. Usually consumed between 25 and 30 spring onions per person, but there are contests in which the winners get to eat up to 300.
What is the best time to eat spring onions?
The ideal season to eat officially begins last Sunday in January, the date held in Valls the "Great Festival Calçotada", and lasts until early April. But more and more those who want to try and this makes since November and can savor. During this period may become consumed more than four million pieces.
- By coach: Hispanic-Igualadina company covers the route at various times daily.
Tel 93 804 44 51
- By train: RENFE covers the route but does not offer too much supply: two trains at seven o'clock (Talgo and regional) and at seven regional pm.
- By car: From Barcelona you can take the AP-7 direction Tarragona to the junction with the AP-2, so you can follow it to Exit 11 Vilarodona / Valls .