Sunday, April 27, 2014

Second Visit for CalÇots

I returned to Cal Ganxo  with the family for one last calÇotada. This time we were seated in the main part of the masía. It was dark and sparsely lit by candles, natural light steaming through the windows, and distantly spaced light fixtures. This old stone farm house dates back to the 18th century. The masía has the most enormous ceiling timbers I have ever seen in my life. I didn't snap too many pictures, but I did go without my phone camera off course to look at the other parts of the restaurant when I went to the ladies room.  Did regret that, but who takes their phone to the WC? The other exterior photos in this post are of the countryside leading to Masmolets.

Fins ara!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Calçots at Cal Ganxo

We have finally found a restaurant with a superb calçotada menu at Cal Ganxo in Masmolets down in Valls, about an hour away from Barcelona. The food and restaurant setting is worth the drive to Valls, capital of calçot farming in Catalonia. Cal Ganxo has only one menu. There is no first or second course to chose from on the menu list. No amics, all the food course selections have been made for you and this makes getting served incredibly fast and efficiently by a pleasant waitstaff. 

The table is set with wine and water, and as soon as you sit down the waiter swiftly comes and sets a terracotta roof tile down on the table with newspaper wrapped grilled calçots. The best part of this menu is their all-you-can-calçots option. We had three teulas and I say this with slight embarrassment at how much we ate. But these giant, tender green onions and the romesco sauce (you can purchase it online) were so irresistible. The waitstaff will keep serving you teulas de calçots as long as you have room in your stomach. The romesco sauce is so delectable, that it makes it difficult to stop eating! Everything here is homemade and this is precisely what sets Cal Ganxo apart from the many other restaurants I have eaten at. They can afford to make homemade romesco sauce and crema catalana because of their fixed menu.

This restaurant is now our official calçotada restaurant to visit every year before it closes at the end of April. The restaurant service is great, there is ample parking space (even helicopters land there), and their calçots and romesco sauce are worth the drive for a mouth-watering experience.


p.s. This is a very Catalan region. I spoke in Spanish to some local towns people and they responded in Catalan. I immediately got the gist and responded in my American accented Catalan.

Calçots stacked on a grill before they get roasted.
Thin tree branches used for grilling.  Once these are done, the entire grill is replaced with the grill in the photo above.
He's the calçotero in charge of grill.
That's my Ace on the left talking to another calçotero.
Porrò de vi.
Our first teula de calçots.

Homemade romesco sauce.
Ace with charred peelings on his plate and dipping a calçot in romesco sauce.
Hot coals in an earthenware dish maintaining the grilled meat warm.
Carxofes, morcilla i faves (artichokes, morcilla and beans).

Allioli (garlic, egg and olive oil) sauce.
That's my man with a glass of cava in hand.
The calçotada menu includes: calçots, grilled meats, wine, water, cava, crema catalana, and coffee.
Crema Catalana (similar to crème brûlée).
Oranges are a typicalyl serviced, aside with crema Catalana, at a calçotada.
Interior shot of ceiling beams.

I loved the idea of a hand sink inside the restaurant to wash blackened hands from peeling the roasted onions.

Ace having his usual cigarette after eating.
The branches used for roasting calçots.
Olive tree lining the driveway.
Had to photograph this village road next to the restaurant.

A guide to help first time calçot eaters.