Calçotada at Mas Palou

A traditional Catalan winter feast against the gorgeous catalunya wine region landscape, complete with a masia from the 14th century…

Just a week ago my friend Adina let me know of a photo job opportunity that her friend Maria was offering. I reached out to Maria to offer my services and I soon found myself on my way to a calçotada in the Catalonian countryside.

The photo job was at Maria’s family owned vineyard just thirty minutes out of Barcelona. The estate is located in the Penedès region, one particularly known for being one of the oldest wine making regions in Spain. The home has been in the family for centuries, since 1378 to be exact! Most of the architecture in the home was built around 1623 and includes a chapel on the property as well (also from 1632). The Vallès family makes their own olive oil, which they use at their events and they specialize in selling grapes to local winemakers. They sell local varieties of grapes as well as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. They offer several places on their estate for events or rental and they also host tastings or gastronomical events like calçotadas, the event I was going to be documenting.

A calçotada is a traditional winter veggie feast, featuring a type of spring onion called “calçot”. These veggies are barbecued to blackened perfection and paired with a nutty, red pepper Romesco sauce. Eating the calçots requires learning from locals as it’s a pretty messy affair. Which makes attending a calçotada at Mas Palou an even more special experience. You get to enjoy homemade, quality food along with the company of a welcoming family that enjoys sharing their traditions and home with others. Maria and the Vallès family welcomed an American group in this particular occasion and put on calçotada, as well as presented a fabulous homemade lunch with local products and of course their own olive oil.

It was a spectacular experience to document. Apart from experiencing the Catalan winter tradition, I was getting an education on life in the countryside, the history of the family and region and Catalan culture. I just felt so lucky to be there. The Vallès home could not be more beautiful and it’s no wonder they share it with others by offering accomodations on the grounds. Let’s just say I can’t wait for the weather to be warmer to book a weekend trip and enjoy the incredible scenery and pool at the masia. I strongly recommend you do the same too.

Check out Maria, her family, their beautiful home, the delicious goods and wonderful accommodations they offer at Mas Palou.

Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.