CALSOT ONION, CATALAN TREASURE
Calsot is a special kind of white onion from Cataluña. It is grown in a special way so as to make it longer. Initially, you could find calsot only in Tarragona, but thanks to its growing popularity nowadays, it is found all around Cataluña and even in other Spanish provinces.
The highest sales of this onion are between November and April because of the special holiday called Calsotada dedicated to the famous Catalonian onion. It is during this holiday when the onion is made in its most traditional way, namely, it is fried on fire and served with Romesco sauce. For meat lovers, there is also something to enjoy on this fiesta, as they serve special Catalonian sausages and lamb fried on fire.
The name of the onion comes from the verb “calzar”, which describes the procedure that allows to shape calsot in its unique way. The procedure consists in that while the onion is growing, you should add some earth to it so that the plant would stretch out to the sunlight. This is why calsot can be up to 25 cms long.
There are several theories of the origin of calsot. The theory which is most dear to Catalonians states that calsot is originally from Tarragona. According to this theory, in the end of the nineteenth century, some Catalonian farmer threw several old onions in fire, but instead of throwing them away, he pealed them and gave them a try. It turned out that inside the onion was sweetish.
However, there are historical documents that probe that calsot had been known since the times of Ancient Rome. In Hungary, they have recently found a wall painting, which dates back to the third century and depicts a man holding calsot.
Interestingly, you can grow calsot from any kind of onion. Although here we are talking about the similarity in appearance. As for the taste, you will have to travel to Spain to try the real calsot. It has a peculiar sweet taste. Besides, the best calsot is grown specifically in Tarragona, so the geographical location of plantations also plays a significant role. The Catalonians say that the best calsot is made in country restaurants. Another peculiarity of calsot is that after trying it for the first time, you either will lover it all your life or will never touch it again.