Thursday, March 29, 2012


This is one of my favorite Catalan traditions. A Calçotada is basically an event where people gather together and have a big feast, it is usually at the end of winter/beginning of spring. The main thing people eat are delicious calçots (green onions) which are barbequed and then dipped into an amazing romesco sauce. The sauce it what makes the calçots so yummy to me, especially since I am not a fan of onions. This year was my second calçotada, there were about 30 Catalan teachers, my American friend who invited me, and same Irish English teachers too. It was at a big house on the countryside in Girona and was beautiful and sunny.

We arrived at around 12pm and began drinking wine from the typical "purro." The calçots began cooking while other food was staring to be prepared. We had some appetizers of fried eggplant with a honey sauce sprinkled on top- mmm delicious. Then I helped make the pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) while the calçots, meat, artichokes, and salad were all being prepared. Finally it was time to eat. You always start with the calçots, which are still hot because they are recently taken off the burner, and dip them into the romesco orange sauce. Then we ate artichokes that had been cooked with garlic and also dipped them into the sauce. Next we sat at a big long table outside and began to eat the various types of meat, salad, and bread. It was all so good. We were all so full - but the meal was not over - there was still dessert, fruit, coffee, and champagne. I love this feast because it brings everyone together and really is such a satisfying meal. I am so glad I was able to experience this Catalan tradition more than once!

Venezia para Carnaval!!

Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky? I was blessed this year to meet an amazing Italian girl, Alice, in Barcelona. I met her in October, while she was living in Barcelona doing her practia but sadly in December she went back to Venice to finish studying. When we met we clicked right away and she quickly became one of my closest friends. Lucky for me, she invited me and some other fellow Americans to Venice for Carnaval--let me tell you, it was one of the best experiences. First of all, being able to go to Venice alone in itself is incredible, the small city set on canals makes you feel like you are in a romantic dream, then throw in the Italians who show you around and cook for you, and add Carnaval to the mix, the traditional masked event that lights up the city...and Venice quickly becomes one of my favorite destinations. 
Alice was such a good host--as well as her roommates--she showed us such a great time and made Venice have an even bigger place in my heart. This was my third year celebrating Carnaval but my first time outside of Spain. I really liked Carnaval in Venice, it was traditional, women wore the long elegant dresses and many wore the carefully crafted masks (I even bought one!). In Spain people just dress up as whatever they feel like. I loved walking around day and night and seeing everyone's mask and elegant attire, it made it feel ancient and different from the typical Halloween dress-up (don't get me wrong we definitely did dress up without masks too (WALDOS)! I am so happy I went and met such an incredible Italian friend I know I will always have :) Ti voglio bene Alice!!