There is something unique to Catalonia, something delicious. It is the calçot and the tradition of a calçot lunch to go with it! A calçot (left) is member of the onion family, and resembles a cross between a green onion and a leek. It’s a uniquely Catalan beast, and are mild and sweet. Every Spring, the Catalan celebrate with the tradition of the calçotada – much like the American tradition of the summer BBQ, where c alçots are grilled over an open flame (in our case over vine cuttings, yum!). The result is a charbroiled onion, but a sweet delicious delicacy underneath. How does one eat a calçot? Once they are grilled, you strip them of course! After barbecuing, It’s a delicate operation, as you grip the bottom of the calçot, and tug gently so the skin pulls off in one long piece. Then, as Toni is demonstrating, you eat the calçotada in several bites – but in one fell swoop. Delicious! a romesco sauce is served, and you strip off the charbroiled layer in a magical feat of action. They can get a little messy however, so as Toni shows us, it helps to have a bib. Or a cape. After a full plate of calçot, and several glasses of cava, Toni became…Super Calcot! The Catalon superhero! Calçots are particularly delicious with brut cava, as the crisp acidity matches perfectly with the sweet greens and the tangy romesco sauce. Now, go out and make some calçots today! when you can’t find the real thing, baby leeks, baby green onions or red onions can be substituted. Broil or grill them until tender. Enjoy with a glass of cava!
So Summer hasn’t quite arrived here in San Francisco, but I decided that I needed a little white wine. I know I know, you’re thinking “Bratty! What have you done!” Those of you who have followed my antics over the years probably realize that I have an abnormal appreciation (er obsession with all things pinot (noir), so today I decided to stick with the pinot theme and taste some Pinot Grigio. I mean Gris. Normally, I run away and scream in horror when I see the words pinot and grigio together as they evoke a certain…Real Housewives of Nowhere bad $5 wine swilling horror. But, I’m happy to say that two wines from the Robert Oatley family are actually a lovely departure from the cheap Italian varietal. Yes, I know there is good Pinot Grigio, but it’s just attacked and tortured by the bad. So, starting with the 2009 Tic Tok Pinot Grigio, which retails for anywhere from $10-13, I found a light tropical touch on the nose, lemon and mango in the body, and a light refreshing texture. The edge of baking spice rounds it out nicely. There was a lot of grapefruit, lychee and nectarine fruit flavors and it had a nice weight without being heavy. It’s a lovely summer white, though not a terribly complex wine, but at $10 average, it’s a great summer sipper for patio parties and BBQs. After the Tik Tock, the 2009 Robert Oatley Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills is a deeper golden hue, as it sits on the skins for longer to give depth of flavor and color. This wine is richer than the Tic Tok and has pear and spice notes. It’s a great sipper to replace your chardonnay! Robert Oatley has been making wine in Australia for over 40 years, and the family has been around since convict days. Pretty good for a prisoner, no? I love a good pinot gris, especially as the weather heats up. I challenge you to go out and find a great pinot gris to bring to you next party! Thanks to Robert Oatley for providing me with this slurpalicious whites!
Be sure to stop by Vinquire and take a look at our Wine Blogging Wednesday efforst. For those of you who don’t know, once a month we get togheter a group, and taste in a particular theme. This month, that theme was Rhone varital white wines. We were a little madcap, and tasting 6, from both France and abroad. You can see the results here: http://www.vinquire.com/blog/2008/jun/10/wbw-46-rhone-whites/ Google