The calçots are wrapped, usually a dozen at a time, in newspapers, which allows to keep steaming. They are often served at the table in an inverted terra cotta roofing tile, which doubles as a serving dish and keep them warm.
Wrapping cooked calçots in newspapers at a festival in a plaza in the barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.
Each diner, armed with a roll of paper towels and a bib, strips off the charred outer layers, dips the calçot in a bowl of thick salbitxada sauce, then throw his or her head back and lowers it into the mouth, biting off pieces until the calçot is gone. Thats where the bib comes in. Usually the juices and drops of sauce fall onto the diner's chest.
This dish is a specialty of Valls in Tarragona province and bus loads of Catalans make pilgrimages to restaurants in this area specializing in La Calçotada. Nearly twenty years ago, I went to one of this places near Valls with a group of American journalists, many of whom eagerly devoured a dozen or two of calçots with romesco / salbitxada sauce, washed down with red wine from porrones (a porrón is a typical needle-nosed spout Catalan communal drinking vessel that typically large enough to hold a bottle of wine).
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"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
About Gerry Dawes
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.