Original ideas to spend Christmas in Penedès
The holiday season is something not to miss if you come from abroad, because our traditions may be quite different. Explore the local fairs and festivities and discover the sometimes-hard-to-explain traditions displaying around Christmas time.
Fira del Gall will take place in Vilafranca del Penedès on the weekend before Christmas, just like it has been since its origin in the Middle Ages. The annual fair started as a poultry market where one could buy a rooster to cook up and serve for Christmas.
Today, locals still go to the market to buy their piece of rooster for their Christmas meals, just like their ancestors, but now Fira del Gall is a relevant food and wine event. You can just have a DO Penedès wine and a taste of a dish made with Penedès Rooster -Gall del Penedès-, the local variety with IGP (Protected Geographical Identity) much appreciated for its meat, and the real protagonist of the fair.
There are many thing happening at the fair, such as special tastings of the DO Penedès, wine and food pairings, cooking workshops... and of course, the whole exhibition of the different varieties of poultry and roosters, which is usually a hit with children!
Another good Christmas event for the whole family is to attend one of the traditional Pessebres Vivents -live Nativity scenes representantions- such as the Pessebre Vivent Parlat Xarel·lo in Sant Jaume dels Domenys, or Pessebre Vivent Parlat de Les Gunyoles, in Avinyonet del Penedès, which has been performed since 1976. If anything distinguishes this one from other Christmas Nativity Scene performances in Catalonia, it is the fact that it is a spoken staging-the closest thing to a theatrical representation in the open air, and culminating in a natural stone cave located in the hills of the village.
We can’t deny that we like to be good hosts and dress up a good table with local produce. Don't wait up to the last minute and go ahead with your shopping! Spend a pleasant, leisurely day shopping for your dearest, while supporting local merchants, shops and producers.
During this time of the year, wine shops of the Penedès Wine Route are in full swing, and it is a real pleasure to get lost among the shelves filled with bottles of good wines. In the shops 12 D.O.s, Inzòlia, Enoteca La Central and Cal Feru, they can give you good advise on wines and spirits, whether they are a gift or for your own enjoyment. Also, remember that Penedès wineries are also open so you can buy wines directly from them, sometimes at special prices.
Festive meals also need local delicacies, such as a selection of cheeses by Xerigots, or the charcuterie made by Mitjans, local producers for 4 generations, or from Mallart 1916, a producer that has been awarded in the Innoforum Awards with the “Most Original Taste” award for its rustic paté made of Gall del Penedès IGP. It's the new classic that everyone has on the table!
If you're thinking of sweets, don't miss the Espai Xocolata Simón Coll, which is like entering in a mini Willy Wonka wonderland. The shop is located in the Simon Coll chocolate factory (you can also take a wonderful tour there) and you can buy turrón (nougat), the chocolate coins and umbrellas that are very popular among children and any type of chocolate you can imagine.