The Alt Camp capital comes into view again this Sunday, but this time not to admire the castles or the bell tower of Vals, but to eat Calcutta. The 42nd Calcuttada Grand Festival is being held there, and is expected to bring together between 30,000 and 40,000 people, most of them national audiences.
This year, the local group Figa Flawas are ambassadors of Authentic Calçotada and promote the vallenquisme of the competition. In fact, the topic centered on his debut album, which was released on Friday. On the other hand, farmers hope that the current cyclone will not last long to prevent it from affecting the quality of calso, although they are optimistic about production. Therefore, they expect the number to be equal to last year, when 18.5 million people took off their shoes.
One of the attractions of the great Calcotada Festival in Vals is the calcot-eating competition, which year after year brings together a large crowd in Plaça del Patte. This year there were twenty male participants, most notably Antonio Hernandez, from Santa Perpetua de Mogoda.
In three-quarters of an hour, he was able to mash 240 Calcot pieces weighing 3.06 kilograms. This was his eighth time at the event, where he broke his own personal record and was crowned champion. Although due to regulations he will not be able to present himself again next year, it is clear that in 2026 he will return to the capital of Alt Camp to compete again. Hernandez was followed by Barcelona's Ramon Caballero and Valen's Ramon Fores, who took 196 and 190 Calcuts respectively.
Plaça del Pati has been one of the meeting points for thousands of people who have come to the city to celebrate the peak of the lingerie season, but it is not the only one. The Plaça de l'Oli was full of curious people who wanted to see up close how the sweet onions were cooked, which were distributed in 4,000 tasting sessions prepared for the occasion. 1,500 of them were sold in advance of the event.
A milestone celebrated by the Chamber of Commerce, which this year focused on a national audience, especially those from central Catalonia. This was highlighted at the ACN by the body's president, Josep M. Rovira, who pointed out party ignorance on the part of this population. At the same time, he added that they have also expanded the promotion to include the south of France, Aragon and the town of Valencia.
A local audience, but also international
Away from family and the home crowd, the international players also rallied themselves once again to experience all that Calcotada entails. This is the case of Yulia Sergeina, a Russian citizen who has been living in Catalonia for two years and who accompanied 55 of her fellow tourists to learn about this tradition up close. “Some colleagues have tasted it before, in restaurants, but for the majority it is new. It is a nice tradition, where everyone has fun and gets their fingers and hands dirty while eating,” he commented.
Figa Flawas performs the song “La Calçotada”
On the other hand, about twenty farmers gathered at Plaça del Blat to participate in the 36th Calso Farmers Competition. A specialized jury analyzed every detail of the orders presented in this edition. Figa Flawas from Vallenc were invited to take part in this experience, which they described as an “adventure” and “learning” and which helped to be declared the winner of the Horta Blanch d'Altafulla. In fact, the two youngsters donned the title of authentic Calcuttada ambassadors this Sunday.
This is the topic on which they based their first work. Calcotada, published on Friday. “We created Calcotada to invite everyone to know our music and we did this through our traditions and customs,” Pep Velasco emphasized. Starting in April, the group will begin a tour that will last until the summer.
As for farmers, it is expected to repeat last year's figure of 18.5 million Calcuttas. The head of the IGP of Calcot de Valls, Dalmatian Klovent, “expects” before the current anti-cyclone context, because it may affect the quality of the fruit. This is a winter crop that requires cold to be at its best. Despite everything, the producers are optimistic and expect a good response from the audience.
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