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History of the Calçotada

The calçotada is a typical banquet of the occidental region of Catalunya (originary from valls, in the Alt camp region). The last decades it is extended and you can taste it almost in every region of Catalunya from end of the fall to the beginning of the spring.

The calçots, a variety of tender onions specially cultivated to make calçots. The they roast it directly over the flames of the wood produced in de vineplants and it’s eaten with the hands, together with a special sause, salvitxada, similar to romesco sauce. When the calçots are roasted, they use more vineplant wood to increase de brases to roast the meat and vegetables and potatos to serve together with the meat.

What is the origin of the calçot?

There’s diverse theories around the authentic origin of the calçot, but the most sproken is that the dicoverer was Xat de Benaiges, a farmer from the town of Valls, province of Tarragona, ending XIX century. People say that this farmer roasted some onions, and he realised the delicious taste of those and during century XX it became a regular dish in all the homes of the region.

Did the romans already ate calçots?

Recently, it’s been found a picture from the roman period (III century), where a man appears eating a “porruscapitatus”or, what is the same, a calçot. So, the catalan origin of this typical dish is now under doubt, together with de discovery of Xat de Benaiges, to who the population had atributed it’s discovery trough 200 years. This surprising history begins the year 2000 far away from Catalunya, in Hungary, in the city of Brigetio. There a picture has been founded where a man, probably a slave in time of the romans, was holding some try with a hand and was eating something with the other hand. After restauring and studying de picture, the archeolog LászlóBorhy came to the conclusion that this food was a calçot: the movement is very clear and in the latin literature there where already references to what the romans called porruscapitatus.

Nutritional properties

In addition to it’s good taste, this meal has a lot of nutritional properties. In general we need to note that the onion is a plant with lots of minerals and vitamines.

The properties atributed are:

  • Toning
  • Diuretic
  • Digestive
  • and even afrodisiac
  • So, it has been studied that the calçots are good to prevent colds, and in addition they have essential elements as:

  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Folic acid (B9 vitamine)