Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Archival posts from my former blog, Walking and Talking

At Barcelona's Llamber, Savoring Spring Green Onions



Ensconced in the back room of Llamber, a fine "gastronomic" tapas restaurant in the Born district of Barcelona, we made short work of these delicious grilled green spring onions. A meatier version of our scallions, they're known as calçots and are mild, sweet and so good.

The calçots from a certain region of Catalonia are so revered that they bear the label of EU Geographic Indication, bestowed on products that are unique to a region and pregnant with terroir. Their annual harvest sparks a celebration known as calçotadas, which involves throwing a bunch of calçots on an outdoor grill with big hunks of meat. The onions are grilled until they turn back, at which point lusty diners rip off the outer leaves, hold them by the stems, sweep them through the grainy romesco sauce that accompanies them, and devour them from the bottom up.

Scattered with sea salt and eaten with thick slices of grilled meat, you have the best family outing possible within a 30-minute drive from Barcelona. The hostel-type mountain houses that hold calçotadas grill all year, round, our server told us, but the biggest season is when the calçots are newly picked and you can eat at outdoor stone tables, drink a full-bodied Tempranillo or sparkling cava and feel glad to be alive. Worth planning a trip to Barcelona around, I'd say!

Navigating a Sea of Print at the Food Book Fair

Spanish Cat Shows Off Talent for Camo