Wed, 07 Mar 2007

Calçotada and lunar eclipse in Picamoixons

Last weekend I had great fun during my first calçotada with my friends in Picamoixons, very near Valls in Tarragona. While it's already a tradition for my friends, this was the first time I went there, after having missed many other opportunities probably due to my overcommitment to triathlon training a few years ago.

So on Friday we drove up North to Catalunya, and arrived quite late to Frago's house in the center of Valls, where we slept in two packed rooms and the terrace after getting some beers in Dune. Early next morning we met Frago's friends and bought the necessary vegetables and wine for our great lunch, and soon after we were in the middle of some olive field outside Picamoixons, where we prepared a big fire and the calçots.

A calçot is a special type of onion which grows in the area, which ends up being very long and thin. After cutting part of the green leaves, they are cooked over the flames, which carbonises the first few layers of the onion, but leaves the inner part ready for consumption. After this, you just need to pull from the inner leaves to get rid of the burnt stuff and eat the rest with a delicious and typical sauce for calçots. So far, so good.

What if your group of friends has extended the tradition, allowing for extra fun bits? In our calçotades, after you've peeled the calçot, you keep the carbonised stuff. It's valuable ammo, which will soon be thrown at others' faces. Trying to remain clean is futile, you soon are covered by sauce and black stuff all over your head and clothes. This was real fun!

After eating part of the group went up a mountain to visit an arab tower, which helped me not to get totally drunk before the night. When it got dark, we were all back to our positions around the fire, chatting and listening to varied music, while we waited for the lunar eclipse.

The eclipse was impressive, seen from the country side, with absolutely no luminic contamination. My friend Jordi carefully prepared his camera to do a good photograph series of the event, and the results were impressive. When the eclipse was about to be full, it was great to see a miriad of stars appear in the sky, previously hidden by the perfect full moonlight. We were just too lucky that the weather fixed up just on time to have a completely clear sky.

The lunar eclipse, as seen from the Catalan countryside. Pics by Jordi Jover.

Many were quite tired by 3 or so, so we started setting up tents and went to sleep by 4. Sunday was a slow day, dedicated to cleaning up our stuff and eating leftovers cooked on a new fire. We were back in València at 8PM or so and even after showering and cleaning my hair with shampoo, my head still smelled like smoke. Actually, I think it might still smell a tiny bit today.

In short, a lovely weekend, which I hope to repeat next year. Too bad the lunar eclipse bit will be missing for quite a few more years. :)