Know your onions…?

Well we have just got back from a short break at our home in France and we had some stunning weather and some good food as well.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how both the French and Spanish (our nearby neighbours) love a festival centred round food. Our own village has an Apricot festival in early July that sees eating competitions to a plethora of apricot related products for sale.

We found ourselves across the border in nearby Spain last Sunday and managed to seek out one of many festivals in this region dedicated to the homage paid to a very seasonal ingredient. It was the humble spring onion known locally as the calçot – the village of Vila – Sacra located between Figeuras and Roses was awash with people enjoying not only the sunshine but some great local produce… everything from assorted stalls selling local preserved meat sausages to local cheeses and even a stunning stall with an abundance of salted fish and even a stall with a mobile bread oven baking wood fired oven bread to order… talk about passionate with food.

It was however the stalls selling newspaper wrapped grilled calçots (5) that came with a little pot of romesco sauce, slice of bread and a either a bottle of water or glass of local red wine for the paltry sum of 4 euros that attracted a steady stream of people… the brightly coloured paper bibs also provided some extra colour to the event and the wonderful sweet tasting onions with their smoky flavour was a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It was fascinating to see the event was so well attended with all ages and it seemed to be a real community event. I think it is something we could with a bit more of here in the UK. Perhaps I should launch a festival in honour of the green bean… now there’s an idea!

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