By Josh Ong
Asador 44 brings a homage to Catalonia within Cardiff in a forthcoming festival of cuisine and culture.
Approaching it’s first birthday, it would certainly be easy to say that the first year of Asador 44 has been an undoubted success. The shift of focus from tapas, served across the other Bar 44 venues, to traditional northern Spanish delicacies has seen owners Tom and Owen Morgan bring in a flurry of awards. The latest endeavour hopes to bring the joys of Catalonia to within the centre of Cardiff.
The upcoming fiesta or Calçotada (pronounced ‘Kalsotada’) celebrates the traditions of the harvesting of Calçots, a practice dating back to the 19th century. The potential success of this within Wales may come from the ability of the Calçots to conjure a sense of familiarity from the total unknown. Whilst most wouldn’t have the faintest clue from their name, the appearance of the Calçots resembles that of Wales’ national vegetable; the leek. Perhaps best described as the lovechild of the country’s emblem and an oversized spring onion, these green delights are deliciously sweet served dipped into a classic romesco sauce, perfect for a beautiful spring day.
At first, I was certainly unsettled of the idea of simply eating mounds upon mounds of onions which had been cooked on an fire until blackened, but my doubts were soon to be extinguished once I first tasted. As the outer blackened layer is removed, the perfectly steamed inners are revealed from which you hastily dip into the sauce and get into your mouth.
It’s certainly not a clean activity; you will undeniably finish the course with the charcoal covered fingers and sauce all over your bib, the wearing of which is heavily advised.
In true ode to Spanish tradition, despite many locals having often eaten around 20 Calçots, the event continues onto a further two courses. The fire is used to cook the local sausages and meats, Botifarra for example, after which the event is finished with a Crema Catalana, Spain’s answer to the crème brûlée. Equally, the use of the Porrón, as being used in the picture below by owner Owen Morgan, is heavily encouraged for all present.
The tradition of this festival is certainly a welcome addition to Cardiff’s growing food sphere. The provision of new opportunities for the general public to discover previously hidden delicacies from across the globe acts as a key driving force behind the advancement of public perception and consequent adoption of a greater culinary spectrum. The fiesta promises to provide an expedition into Spanish culture including traditional music, fantastic unique food and excellent wine.
The Fiesta de la Calçotada is being hosted at Asador 44 on the 13th of April with a 12:30pm start.
Tickets are £40pp with a £20 deposit required.
To book contact firstname.lastname@example.org OR call 029 2002 0039