Calçotada Festival at Lunya, Manchester

Dipping calcot onions in to sauce / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATSI love when a very local, specific food item is idolised when it’s season arrives. Currently here in the UK we have Yorkshire rhubarb appearing in shops, and the early stems are sought out by chefs and home cooks like the precious pink jewels that they are. Over in the Catalan region of Spain, the sweet onion called a calçot is so prized that a whole festival honors it: the calçotada. Here in Manchester and Liverpool, Lunya had a calçot dish on the menu while they were in season, and they created their own calçotada right here in Manchester to bring some Catalan sunshine to a hum drum Monday evening!

Calçotada comes to Manchester

Lunya is big on Spanish and Catalan hospitality. Owners Peter and Elaine Kinsella greeted all their guests at their Manchester calçotada with Spanish treats from the deli downstairs. Peter told us how a calçotada works – it is basically a feast which goes on all day sometimes, all washed down with cava. Importantly he showed us how to drink the accompanying cava from a porron. Years of experience have made him a pro!

Bottle of Vilarnau cava / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

For the sake of research Andrew was forced to have several attempts at it too – and to be honest he wasn’t at all bad!

Man drinking cava wine from a porron / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

Yes dear reader, I married him for his porron skills! **

What’s a calçot? Know your onions!

We are talking about a sweet little veggie, somewhere between a spring onion and a baby leek. Coming into season in mid winter, and finishing at the end of March, they are celebrated throughout the Catalan region where they grow in abundance.Calcot onions wrapped in newspaper / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

To eat, they are charred over open flames or BBQ then wrapped in newspaper to steam. You pop off the outer skin and dunk in a romanesco sauce before tipping your head back and eating in one! And if you’re thinking that sounds messy…you’re right! That’s why diners are given very attractive bibs to save their clothing. Leave your shame at the door and you are in for a treat!

Montage eating a calcot onion / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

The many faces of eating a calçot!


After the pile of calçots, the cava continued to flow while we enjoyed cheese, meat and seafood from the deli. It’s amazing how wearing a bib brings total strangers together!

Table of people at a calcotada festival / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

Bibs, bringing strangers together since feasting began! **

Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

Fun fact – the cheese on the left contained pork!

Just when we thought we’d eat no more, platters heaving with grilled Catalan sausage, lamb chops and chicken appeared, alongside patas bravas and pan con tomate. Spanish Nordes Gin and crema Catalana finished us off. Peter didn’t lie when he said calçotada was a feast!

Plate of pan con tomate / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

So. Much. Meat. Safe to say the rocket, lovely as it was, didn’t get a look in! **

Crema Catalana in a bowl / Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

Crema Catalana: I may have had two of these. I regret nothing! **

It’s a shame that calçot season is over now – I loves this communal fun way to eat. I’ll definitely be asking friends to join us for a calçotada at Lunya next year.

In the meantime, Lunya continue to go from strength to strength. The original Liverpool site has moved to the other end of the street to a bigger unit. And just this week they’ve announced a smaller more intimate venue is to open down on the docks in a few months.

Lunya host Spanish food events throughout the year so it’s well worth checking them out. I can also assure you that I’ve enjoyed countless tapas in both Liverpool and Manchester sites and the deli is my go-to for good chorizo and olive oil.


*PR invite. Thank you to Lunya and SH Communications for your wonderful hospitality
**Additional (far better) images courtesy of SH Communications.

Calçotada in Manchester with Lunya / SHE-EATS

Posted by Claire

She eats. She drinks. She cooks. She travels. She learns. She tastes. She bakes. A foodie with exceptional taste! Always looking for the best food and drink producers from far and wide. Chocolate brownie queen. Judge: International Cheese Awards. Cheese fiend! Travel lover. What better way to discover new food, than to travel to it. Massive fan of The Archers. Crazy cat lady and proud. NW England / Manchester / UK Twitter & Insta: She_Eats_Blog Facebook: SheEatsBlog


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