Caga Tio and my first Christmas in Barcelona

Jordi with Dunna

Jordi with Dunna

Just to give you an idea how feasty-in-a-row it was, our tour in Sagrada Familia and panfu-licious paella day was 2 days after celebrating the Caga Tio on Christmas Eve, which was actually my first Christmas in Barcelona. It was really, really good fun, partly because I discovered a new twist on the ever so repetitive Christmas traditions we have in the PI. Which is just as simple secret santa or other called it as exchange gift. I will try my best to give you an explanation of what Caga Tio is.

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Caga Tio, pronounced “Cacka-tee-oh”  is a wooden log with a smiley face painted onto one end. Caga Tio also wears a traditional Catalan red hat and is basically the Catalan equivalent of Santa Clause. Any one with a little Spanish knowledge, knows that “tio” means “uncle“, however it also means “log” and Caga Tio translates to “poo Log“, or pooping log. Christmassy hey?!

The idea is that Caga Tio is “looked after” by the kids from the 8th of December to Christmas Eve. They cover his rear end with a blanket to keep him warm and feed him Turron and Orange peel every evening. The more they feed him, the more Christmas presents he will “poo-out” for Christmas. I kid you not people, I didn’t believe it either, but it’s true, and the story only gets stranger from here.

Caga Tio, apparently, needs a little persuasion to “poo” the presents out, so after weeks of feeding Caga Tio and making sure he is warm with his blanket, the kids are given a stick to “beat” Caga Tio with. Only then will he “poo” out the presents. As if this isn’t absurd enough, they also have to sing a song…..

caga tió,
caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!”

(poop log,
poop turrón,
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don’t poop well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
poop log!)

Once they sing the song and beat Caga Tio with the stick, the kids look in the blanket which as been keeping Caga Tio warm for the last few weeks, to find their Christmas presents. I can only assume that if the kids aren’t happy with their gifts, they beat him some more and throw him in the fire! (kidding)

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 Ehh you might be wondering what Tio poop for me. Its DSLR camera flash, wireless DSLR camera remote, Nike running shoes (thanks to my Jordi), a set of bath robe, a lovely jewerly box, a winter shawl and gloves, and a jean jacket. See, Tio Guapo right? Tio poop very nice.. 🙂

And others got pretty good poo from Tio. Great job Tio!!!

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That was followed by a nice and hearty feast partnered good flow of beer, cava and wine, started with selection of tapas that were to good to served as starters, then a warm, flavorful and sumptuous seafood soup with bomba rice perfect for a winter night.

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Good vibe, good time, good food and good poop ….oops I mean good gifts.

It was wonderful and memorable.

The following day was of course Christmas day, yet another feast, another day of celebration, means more food, drinks and more fun. This is why if you go for holiday your diet must be on holiday to.

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Woke up at 10:00 am with slightly heavy head and tummy from last nights and the house was already smelling muy deliciosoooo.

We started the afternoon by stretching our vocal chords with a karaoke with some dance move like that crazy singing outta-control baby you cant help but just enjoy. Which makes our appetite hunt for food.

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Of course we started with some selection of tapa’s laid in the table kinda like a cuties calling our name.

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And a good drink to washed it down.

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Followed by Escudella de carn d’olla which is a typical Catalán Christmas dish. It is a slow cooked one-pot stew,  full of meat, vegetables and the traditional Christmas noodles Galets de Nadal, a very big, nicely shaped type of pasta. Cataláns normally put various meats in the Escudella de carn d’olla: chicken (for Saint Peter), beef (for Saint Luke), lamb (for Saint John) and with pork (for Saint Anthony), along with a large pilota (meatball). Besides this selection of meat they put a huge amount of vegetables into the pot including cabbage, potatoes,  carrot, onion, leek, celery and chickpeas.

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If it’s ready it can be served altogether as a meaty soup forCatalán Christmas dinner, or separately – they remove and keep warm the vegetables and  the meat as second plate, and eat the rest as a soup with noodles served as first course.

Then followed by Orange chicken which reminds me more of a Filipino dish called Hamonado. Sweet, tangy and savory.

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As desert – which I must say is always very delicious in Catalunya – they traditionally serve a selection of sweets and cakes such as marzipan, neules, Christmas bread, ‘El Pa de Nadal‘ orturrón (torró in Catalán).

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Turrón is really really popular and not only at Catalán Christmas.  You can buy it in every period of the year! This traditional Spanish sweet is a type of nougat in a shaped like a tablet, made of honey, sugar, egg white and a variety of nuts, especially almonds.

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I highly suggest you find a shop or Christmas Market in Barcelona to buy and try some turrón, specially the yema, delicious!

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Cheers!! Hope you enjoyed!

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BESOS y ABRAZOS!!!

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2 responses to “Caga Tio and my first Christmas in Barcelona

  1. Pingback: eatShayne’s recommends | Paella de Mariscos at Salamanca Restaurant, Barcelona Spain | eatShayne's blog·

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