This coincides with Girona Fiestas (Fires de Sant Narcis - the week or 10 days around the 29th October). The Castanyada (chestnut eating) is celebrated in Catalonia mainly on All Saints' Day. In Occitania, the similar festival Castanhada is celebrated, but not on All Saints' Day as in Catalonia. Like Halloween or the Celtic Samhain, its origins are in an ancient ritual festival of the dead.
In Catalonia it consists of a meal of chestnuts, 'panellets' (sweets made from marzipan and pine nuts), sweet potato and preserved fruits, typically with moscatell to drink. It seems that the tradition of eating these foods comes from the fact that during All Saints' night, the night before All Souls' Day in the Christian tradition, bell ringers would ring bells in commemoration of the dead into the early morning. The festival is usually depicted with the figure of a castanyera: an old lady, dressed in peasant's clothing and wearing a headscarf, sat behind a table, roasting chestnuts for street sale. 
castañas - chestnuts

Calçots - Catalan Marmite

Calçotada in 2007 01.JPGPersonally, i love'em. Just don't wear white. Mainly an excuse for a barbecue in March. Or February. Or April. A 'Calçot' pronounced 'calsot' is a type of scallion or green onion from Lleida. The calçot from Valls, Tarragona is a registered EU Protected Geographical Indication. Calçots are milder and less bulbous than onions. The Calçotada is an annual event from Tarragona, now celebrated all over Catalonia. They are grilled on high fire, wrapped up in newspaper, served on terra cotta tiles and eaten after peeling with bare hands by dipping one by one in romesco sauce along with an accompaniment of red wine and bread. This is followed by barbecued lamb chops and sausage and white beans.


It's taken us a while to get round to trying this one. We arrived at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon and it was quite empty until 3 ish. Now Girona is on the map, at least half the lunchers were Brits but it was not a tourist menu or atmosphere. The food, service and ambience was great and it deserves its' popularity. The dishes are to share and are very generous - we shared 'els escalivats'  (goats' cheese and roasted vegetable tart with a pile of interesting salad stuffs) between us, having seen our neighbours' arrive and then a 'mini dessert' and we were satisfied and mellow.  A little bit of Led Zeppelin on low in the background never hurt anyone either. Next time  the levee breaks i fancy the 'rap' (monkfish) with caramelised onion and potato, thank you very much. Deciding what you'll be having next time, before leaving the restaurant is always a good sign..
15€ per person with a glass of wine.

Christmas 2014 Activities