The route of Xató

When we talk about Xató we do not only refer to a typical dish with escarole base and ingredients that enhance the aroma and flavour, we refer to its cultural significance and impact on the life of three regions: the “Alt Penedès”, “Baix Penedès “And” Garraf. ” Since its origins, there has always been a certain “controversy”, which remains a simple anecdote about the origin of this culinary specialty.

That is why we cannot speak of a single place where you can taste this appetizing dish, but of a route (this year celebrates 22 years of uninterrupted route) that manages to twin the three geographical locations that we mentioned at the beginning, although in each case, with certain variations in their preparation and peculiarities.

What is really the Xató?

Xató is a dish that combines the maritime influence with products of the garden, it is a traditional seasonal salad made with escarole, cod, anchovies, tuna and Arbequina olives. However, the secret of good Xató is in its sauce. It is not a romesco sauce nor the typical “calçots” sauce. The ingredients for a good Xató sauce are: a chop of almond and toasted hazelnut, 2 desalted anchovies, 2 cloves of garlic, 4 “ñoras” (peppered chorizo) 2 or 3 slices of bread, salt, vinegar, oil to taste and very often also half chilli.

In some places like Calafell or El Vendrell 2 ripe tomatoes, some pepper or paprika and onion are added. In our region of Garraf, this salad is accompanied by different tortillas, which can be potato, spinach or artichokes and all washed down with the excellent wines of Penedès.

Preparing this dish is a real satisfaction for the senses and an ideal pretext for a reunion among friends. Now that there is a great “boom” or resurgence of gastronomy, to spend a few minutes to this winter dish so representative of our character is very appropriate. A valuable opportunity to share some of those unforgettable moments that we call good memories.

The etymology and origin of the word Xató is believed to come from the verb “aixetonar” which means to put a tap or “aixeta” (in Catalan), in a boot or wine barrel, once the succulent broth has already reached its degree optimal maturation.

Some, less successful, have declared that comes from France, for its similarity with the voice: “chateau” (castle in French).

In any case, the Xató is closely related to the world of wine, the joy of the vintage (the “Verema” in Sitges is celebrated in October), with the food that was served then and in turn with the carnival itself, as a part of the traditional winter festivities (at the end of February).

The cultivation of escarole is longer than that of other vegetables such as lettuce, its germination develops during the lower winter temperatures. Among all its varieties, those with curly leaves and, especially, the youngest and tender stems are selected.

In the Historical Archive of Sitges we find the first historical reference of a popular xatonada. The event took place on February 13, 1896 and brought together illustrious Sitgetans such as Santiago Rusiñol, Miquel Utrillo or Gaietà Boïgas i Monravà.

Around the life of Xató, more than 200 compatible activities have been designed and adhered to the tasting of this Mediterranean recipe: wine tourism, music, hiking, history, popular festivals…

Every 20 th of November the Xató season begins. This year will come full of surprises: popular tastings, contests, wine tastings and pairing or the Xató tapa among others, well into the spring. The Xató is very linked to the life of Sitges, it is really a song and a tribute to the joy of our people.

The best restaurants on the Xató route include it for a long time in its menu of traditional and typical dishes. At this time of the year many people interested in knowing the most representative of the life of Sitges come to our offices, looking for good reasons to choose our town as the ideal place to acquire a new home or invest in the growing real estate business. For us and our team at La CLAU group it is always a satisfaction to dissipate all their doubts.

For many, living here, in Sitges, is synonymous with well-being and quality of life. Our love for gastronomy, history and traditions are just one example of this.

According to the last census, Sitges has a population that borders on the 29,000 inhabitants, distributed in 43,85 km2 and almost 9,000 houses of property plus 3,010 rental properties. A good number of citizens came from abroad and stayed with us, they have adapted to our customs, learned our language and integrated perfectly into our way of doing and understanding life. Many of these people; singles, couples or families, needed professional help to acquire or rent a place to settle indefinitely and in that sense La CLAU group had the valuable opportunity to collaborate in making their stay as pleasant as possible.

The Xató de Sitges or any of the other regions that joined us in celebrating this celebration of history, flavors and cultural legacy.

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