Calçotadas: All You Need to Know about this Catalan Tradition
delicious traditions in barcelona

Calçotadas – a Special Catalan Tradition

It is no secret that here in Barcelona we love to eat. No matter the occasion or season we always manage to tie-in some gastronomic angle to every get-together.

One favourite foodie traditions loved by Catalans, ex-pats and visitors alike is a Calçotada.

A Calçotada is a popular ritual which brings together families and friends, in the colder months, to eat  large green onions (similar to a spring onion), called calçots. There is certainly no escaping them if you’re visiting between the months of December and May.

Why Are We Obsessed With Calçots?

So why are we so obsessed with getting together and eating these over-sized green onions?

Firstly it’s the social ritual; they are a great excuse to meet up with friends in the countryside or the city, and spend time together eating, drinking and generally being merry.

There is a real knack to eating calçots which people love spending time mastering. Despite maybe perfecting the technique, it will always result in dirty hands, charcoaled chins and the smell of smoked onion.

The second reason is the sheer deliciousness of them.

The most popular way to cook calçots is to grill them over an open BBQ. The onions are not completely cleaned as a little earth protects their outer skin.

They are most commonly served in newspaper and must be eaten directly with your hands. Although the outer layers will be barbecued until black, the inner bulb remains deliciously tender and and is dipped into a very tasty Romesco sauce.

This delicious sauce is made from nuts, dried red peppers, vinegar, garlic and olive oil. The combination will leave no doubt as to why this ritual is such a popular leisure time with the locals throughout the colder months.

Top Catalan Calçotada Locations

For anyone with a special interest in learning about Spanish cooking, getting their hands in the mix, we offer a Spanish food class.

Casa Juaco

This country-style restaurant is located in the hills of Collserola, so you will need a car to get there. The restaurant has beautiful views over the lush hills of Catalunya and has a very relaxed and tranquil ambience. This restaurant is famous for its calçotadas and is very popular so it’s advisable to book in advance.

Can Carbonell

A veritable institution for the calçotada, Can Carbonell is well worth the drive to get to. Aside from the star-guest-calçot, the other delicacies on offer are superb, including artichokes, escargot, steak, chicken, lamb, and rabbit. This place is also very child friendly so feel free to bring all the family.

Les Espelmes

You can’t even discuss calçots without paying homage to the birthplace of the calçotada in Valls, near Tarragona. One of our top restaurants in the area is the amazing Les Espelmes.

The staff are incredibly friendly and once you’ve made your way up the twisting roads the views that greet you are spectacular. With the restaurant being perched on the top of a mountain the views over Barcelona are worth the trek, let alone their award winning calçots.

This place is also one of the most popular places for calçotadas, so again make sure you book in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Contact us to find out how to hire a venue and do a calçotada of your own! Email us at or call +34 935 008 226.