Festival del Xató

A bit of history...

The Xató is the main dish of Carnival and it has always been closely associated with wine-drinking. The ceremony of tapping the wine barrel consisted in inserting a small tap so that the wine could be drawn out. This was the sign for the festa to begin, and was celebrated with a special dish. The dish was made up of the salty ingredients, anchovy, tuna and salt cod, that were the usual fare in the farmer's pantry, and accompanied with winter salad leaves and some olives. It was enriched with a sauce, made using unmistakably Arabic techniques, that was commonly used among local farming people in more or less elaborate forms.
They did not have to look very far to find a name for the dish. Xató comes from “aixeta”, the word for tap. It seems appropriate for a town to return to its origins, take up the tradition again and celebrate by sharing it with others.

Festival del Xató - Fiesta de los Mercados

El próximo domingo día 25 de noviembre, se celebrará el Festival del Xató y la Festa dels Mercats en el Mercado de Mar; una oportunidad única para conocer y adquirir los productos necesarios para elaborar un auténtico Xató de Vilanova i la Geltrú y para disfrutar de una fiesta con una variada degustación de tapas elaboradas con productos que habitualmente ofrecen los paradistas del mercado.

El objetivo del Festival es dar un paso más para consolidar este acontecimiento cómo un escaparate de la gastronomía vilanovina: sus platos y sus productos dentro de un marco incomparable como es el Mercado de Mar.

La Fiesta de los Mercados

La Fiesta de los Mercados aproxima el mercado al ciudadano, ofreciendo otras opciones fuera de las que se corresponden a su dinámica habitual, combinando el espíritu de fiesta con la actividad propia del mercado y acercando y aportando este valor añadido que siempre ha tenido y han de continuar teniendo los mercados municipales, por delante de otros operadores comerciales.

Los concesionarios del mercado abren sus paradas para celebrar conjuntamente con el Festival del Xató, la Festa dels Mercats. El Mercado de Mar se convierte en una gran fiesta ambientada con música en vivo donde los visitantes pueden comprar y degustar tapas de máxima calidad elaboradas por los mismos paradistas con productos del mar y de la tierra.

 

Xató de Vilanova recipe (for 6 people):

Ingredients for the sauce: 1 - 2 medium-sized cloves of garlic, 36 roasted almonds, 12 roasted hazelnuts, 8 hot peppers scalded in water or macerated in wine, a fresh breadcrumb soaked in vinegar, oil to taste and salt.

Ingredients for the dish: 2 curly endive or escarole, 200 g of salt cod soaked to remove the salt and dried, 150 g of tuna soaked to remove the salt and dried, 18 fillets of anchovies, black olives and Arbequine olives.

Directions

Crush the cloves of garlic in a pestle and mortar with the salt, so that they do not fall out. Once they are well crushed, gradually add the almonds and hazelnuts until you have a smooth paste. Scrape out the inside of the hot peppers that have been scalded or macerated in wine and add this pulp to the mortar. Blend it in, then add the bread soaked in vinegar, slightly drained, and go on mixing. When it is ready keep on stirring slowly and gradually add the oil and the wine used to macerate the peppers until the sauce has the desired consistency.

Drain the escarole well and place it in a large salad dish. Add a little of the sauce, mix well, and put on the plates. Once on the plate, add the tuna, cod, and anchovies. Let each guest add a little more sauce to their own taste.