Category Archives: Uncategorised

  • calçotada barbequed onions

    Calçotada Time is here!

    Calçotada – an onion barbecue!

     Spring time in this region means Onion Barbecue  time or in Catalan ‘Calçotada ! Yeah you heard right Grilled Onions and they are delicious. It is one of the most renowned Catalan traditions –  a gastronomic phenomenon in the region surrounding Barcelona and further north in French Catalonia. No calçotada is complete without the typical sweet char-grilled spring onions known as ‘calçots,’ and mountains of grilled meat and sausages. Add some red wine to help wash it all down and you have understood the basics.  It is a festival celebrated in the coldest months of the year. From January until April, many towns and villages host these winter food festival. Dinner Dancing and Red Wine How could you beat it?

    Calçots on barbecue

    Calçots on barbecue!

    The Calçotada starts with the barbecue. No fancy charcoal here – just scrap timber, old pallets and some vine cuttings. The calçots are placed in wire grills.  When the fire  is ready, it’s time to cook the calçots. They stay on the heat until they are nicely charred and just starting to turn black on the outside. They do not look too appetizing at this stage! Once they’re cooked, they are wrapped in newspaper, just like Fish & Chips, and then kept in a box and left to rest for about 40 minutes. This leaves just enough time to grill the meats, often lamb or local sausages which are typically served after the calçots as the second course of the meal.

    Blackened Calçots

    Blackened Calçots

     Calçotada – The Sauce!

    This is the star of the show. The calçots are served with a sauce similar  to romesco sauce. I googled it and discovered that it is usually made of a combination of almonds, hazelnuts, stale bread, garlic, ñora peppers, ripe tomatoes, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. It is to die for! We asked for the recipe but were emphatically told that it was a closely guarded  secret. No amount of persuasion worked to change their minds.

     a messy eating experience!

    Eating the Calçots is a messy operation so gloves and bibs are supplied! Not one for the fashion concious.  You peel the blackened skin of the onion revealing the juicy tender inners, dip in the special sauce and eat and eat. They are slightly addictive! Dont worry – they will serve until you can eat no more and of course copious amounts of red wine.

    Calçotada

    Calçotada

    Calçotada – The Afters!

    After you can eat no more onions, the tables are cleared. The next course is served – in our case local Catalan sausages and black pudding made and supplied by Chez Alex Charcuterie in Ollette. This was followed by a local cheese and a slice of cake.

    Then the dancing begins. Buoyed by the booze the floor is packed. and of course we must have the typical dances of the region – the Sardane.

    Sardane
    Sardane

    Calçotada – the rum punch!

    Our Calçotada was in Vernet les Bains and afterwards they served a potent rum punch. There was eight 1.5 litre bottles in it. I counted!!!! The gentleman making it was a real character. He really loved the attention and what resulted was a long and fun preparation and commentary to boot! After our very fortified digestive we made our way home.

    calcotada-making rum punch

    A few Local Calçotadas to come this year:-

    Check your local press for more details on
    Calçotadas near you

    • 19/20 March Calçotada Festival
      Tradilluna i Calçotada      66300 Tresserre
    • 3rd March 12.30 Calçotada   Vernet Les Bains 66820
  • Appartements Ria-Sirach

    Profitez de la Saint-Valentin à Ria-Sirach

    location saisonnière prades 66500

    🥂💞 Profitez de la Saint-Valentin à Ria Sirach. Poêle à bois, fleurs, vin mousseux et chocolats. Réservez deux nuits entre le 8 et le 20 février pour profiter de cette offre.💞🥂
    🥂💞 Enjoy a Valentine’s break at Ria Sirach. Book any two nights between 8 and 20 February and enjoy chocolates, bubbly, flowers and a wood stove.💞🥂
    🥂💞Gaudeix del Dia de Sant Valentí a Ria Sirach. Estufa de llenya, flors, vi escumós i bombons. Reserveu dues nits entre els dies 8 i 20 de febrer per aprofitar aquesta oferta💞🥂

  • Catalan-Irish!

    Irish Dancing Catalan style!

    Yesterday we were saying goodbye to a lovely family from Barcelona when they told us they had a surprise for us. They pulled back the furniture in our lounge and proceeded to do a mother and daughter Irish reel to the music of St Patrick’s reel. They are taking lessons in Barcelona from a Catalan teacher. They were really good. Really sorry I did not video it. Thank you Núria & Emma! And for the message in Irish in the guest book. Go raibh maith agaibh!

  • Les Jeudis De La Perdrix

    Thursday Night At Domain de la Pederix

    Thanks to tickets compliments of Kate at P-O Life http://anglophone-direct.com/ we visited Domain de La Pedrix last Thursday night. Admission is normally €14. It includes your ‘glass’, for sampling their fine wines, a plate of charchuterie, use of their barbecues and music. Great idea! The night kicks off with a guided wine tasting and a tasting plate of local charcuterie.  Overall we tasted 5 delicious wines – the tasting portions were generous. Afterwards you barbecue your own food – Barbecues are already lit for you. Wine is available for purchase and it is good! We actually had the wine from here for our daughters wedding last year. Afterwards there is a live band and dancing. It is a good night out and highly recommended. Shame somebody has to drive!

    Summer programme

    les jeudis de la pederix continue on until 7th September. You can see the programme here. http://www.domaine-perdrix.net/jeudis-de-perdrix-2017/ Booking is essential.

    Ria Sirach Apartments Prades

    Remember at Ria Sirach Apartments we offer spacious one and two bed roomed apartments at reasonable rates. The apartments are located in Ria Sirach  midway between Prades and Villefranche de Conflent. See more at our website www.riasirach.com for more details

     

     

  • lac de bouillouses & Carlit By €1 bus

    Days out From Ria Sirach Apartments

    Leaving Prades at 07.35 am and outside Ria Sirach Apartments at 07.40 am the €1 bus will take you to Mont Louis. Sit on the left hand of bus up for some amazing scenery.  From Mont Louis there a free connection will take you to the reception car park at Lac de Bouillouses. From there a paid navette  (€5 aller retour) takes you to the reservoir. Great place to spend a summer’s day especially as it’s several degrees cooler. There are numerous places to have a picnic or several restaurants to have lunch. There are many marked  walks with some beautiful scenery taking you on a tour of the lakes. Another feature is the many wild horses. The cable lifts also operate all summer long taking you down to Font Romeu

    Carlit

    Carlit at 2921m is the highest mountain in Pyrenees Orientales. While mostly a straightforward trek it does get a little tricky near the top. It involves some climbing and scrabbling over rocks and the path is easy to lose. However it is well worth it. The view from the top is just magnificent. Whats more the first ascent of Carlit was  by an Irishman ( Henry Russell) in 1864.  From memory the return trip from Lac de Bouillouses was around 14 km and took about 6.30 – 7 hours

    Ria Sirach Apartments Prades

    Remember at Ria Sirach Apartments we offer spacious one and two bed roomed apartments at reasonable rates. The apartments are located in Ria Sirach  midway between Prades and Villefranche de Conflent. See more at our website www.riasirach.com for more details

     

  • Great article highlighting the array of things to do in the Prades area!

    A recent Guardian  article highlights this great area of France, easily accessible from Ria Sirach Apartments and the market town of Prades

    Highlights include the coastal popular town of Collioure, The abbey of st Martin de Canigou, the trip on the yellow train, the annual classical musical festival in Prades, the solar oven near font Romeu and the Spanish enclave of Llivia.

    https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2017/jun/17/france-road-trip-perpignan-cathar-castles-spain-spanish-border

  • Summer in Prades

    Ria Sirach Apartments – Summer Happenings

    Yes folks – It’s nearing that time and we’re getting geared up here at Ria Sirach Apartments for the summer season. The calendar is filling up nicely but there are still available dates. Remember the best price for your summer holiday can be found by booking directly on our website. Here are just a few things that are on this summer

    Festival Pablo Casals Prades 2017

    The festival is a highly renowned classical music festival which draws musicians from all over the world. We have been lucky to host many talented musicians in our gites over the years and even had impromptu recitals on our terrace. This years festival runs from 24 July -14 August. The main concerts take place in the church in Prades and the Abbey  Saint -Michel de Cuxa. Alongside runs the masterclasses for students and there are many free concerts in the local churches and halls nearby.

    Film Festival Prades 2017

    From  the 15-23 July Prades hosts one of the oldest film festivals in France. It is now in its 58th year. It includes open air film screenings which are open to all. For more information see  http://www.cine-rencontres.org/

    Tour d’Espagne  en France 21 August 2017

    On 21 st August this year Prades will be the starting point for the third stage of the Tour. It will pass right in front of the apartments so you can even watch from the gate

     

     

     

  • Lazy Sunday

    Today our Sunday outing possibilities were limited so I got to choose Catherine was not too impressed when we arrived at Fête de l’élevage at Vinca- It was  basically a beauty pageant for cows. Nevertheless she did manage to come away with two garden plants, a pot of fig jam and an oak chopping board. She can shop anywhere!!! Vinca is only ten minutes from Ria Sirach Apartments and Prades. In summer it’s a great place to go with the kids and there is a lake beach with loads of activities. Ria Sirach Apartments offer four comfortable spacious holiday apartments. For bookings and information see our new website (still under construction) at https://riasirach.com
     

    L'élevage en fête - Vinça

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  • Cattlar 66500 – A baking Revolution?

    Sunday  is a day of rest in France – great! No shops open just maybe a little food festival, an organised walk or maybe  a specialist market to go to.  So last Sunday morning we took a run over to Cattlar, only about 5 minutes from Prades and 10 from Ria Sirach Apartments, for a market we saw advertised.  The market was small, very small, but the centerpiece was a stall run by the new local bakers – they were queued out. There was one guy doing repeated runs back to the bakery for more stock. On further enquiry we found out that three young bakers had taken over the local bakery and they certainly were a hit. They produce a wide range of baking including sourdough loaves. We purchased some of their produce  and distributed it to the renters – It is now a Sunday tradition that we supply the Sunday bread! Usually we get it from the wood oven in Villefranche de Conflent but something tells me that Cattlar will be getting a turn as well.

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