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12 Nov 2018 10:57 POR KATJA Y ANTOINE

Christmas in Barcelona: Cannelloni and twelve grapes

On special dates and occasions, such as Christmas and New Year's Eve, everyone loves to gather around a table full of delicious food to share and enjoy it with their loved ones. Gastronomy is a big part of most traditions and holidays, and this is of course the case for Christmas in Barcelona.

If you are thinking on spending your Christmas holidays in Barcelona for the first time, you are going to make some interesting discoveries, and we are sure you are going to love them.

Starting with traditional food, “escudella de Nadal” will be one of your first delicious findings. It is a meat and vegetables broth and it has “galets” (big pasta shells) and “pilota” (a mixture of meat, egg, garlic, parsley, salt and peppers) or small meatballs. This is typically eaten as the first dish of the Christmas lunch on the 25th of December. Another one of the traditional Catalan Christmas meals is “canelons” (Catalan style cannelloni), which is usually served for lunch on boxing day. They are traditionally prepared with the leftovers of Christmas and they tend to be every grandmother's speciality. In Villa Emilia, we make “canelons” following the traditional recipe and adding a special touch, and they are delicious.

Christmas traditions in Barcelona

If you leave gastronomy behind for a bit, you can keep on discovering more Christmas traditions that can be, to say the least, surprising. We invite you to go to the most famous Christmas market in Barcelona: Mercat de Santa Llúcia, located in the Cathedral's square, where you will find the typical festive decorations, artisan and handmade figures and Christmas trees. However, there are more special things you will be able to buy on this - or any – festive market in Barcelona.

In Catalunya, families get a log with a smiley face drawn on one end called “tió”, and they feed it and cover it with a blanket to keep it warm for a few days. Then, on Christmas day, children hit it with a stick while singing a traditional song to make it “poop” small presents. This is known as “caga tió” and it is one of the special Catalan traditions you won't find anywhere else. The “tió” shares the present-giving duty with Santa Claus, and also the Three Magic Kings (or the Three Wise Men), who visit every children's house the night between the 5th and the 6th of January.

New Year's Eve in Barcelona

New Year's Eve is a very special occasion for most people. Regardless of whether it was a good or a bad year, everyone celebrates the beginning of a new one full of possibilities and dreams. In this case, the celebration tends to depend more on a personal choice than a tradition. Some want to attend a big party and dance until dawn, while others prefer a nice dinner and a few drinks to toast for the new beginnings. The only thing everyone does when celebrating the New Year's Eve in Spain is to eat grapes when the bells ring to mark midnight. They are known as the twelve grapes of luck and people eat one with each bell strike.

At Villa Emilia, we offer a delicious and special menu to celebrate New Year's Eve and it, of course, includes the grapes of luck. However, for those looking for a more romantic night, we have a special New Year's Eve pack that can be added to the reservation of a room. It offers a fantastic and very complete dinner and a bottle of champagne to enjoy in the bedroom. Which will be your choice?


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Enjoy a cup of tea, coffee, or other beverage with some pastries mid-afternoon.