Today, on the Feast of St. Anthony, all of Andorra gathers together in various plazas throughout the country to celebrate what is called L'escudella. Escudella, itself, it the name given to a traditional Catalan stew full of delicious things like Catalan sausages, beans, and various vegetables. Apparently in the early 70s some friends in Andorra got together and prepared plates of escudella for their neighbors and the shopkeepers in the area. They were essentially reviving the centuries-old tradition of distributing food among the poorest in the parish on St. Anthony's day, January 17th. As you might have guessed, this became quite popular and now the entire country participates.
Lucky for us, in Andorra la Vella the festivities were taking place just a 5 minute walk from our apartment in the Plaça de Les Arcades. Basically the whole plaza was set up with the Escudellaires working massive vats of stew and then long rows of tables for people to eat at. We waited in a line for some 20 minutes before being told that if we didn't have bowls, we couldn't get the free tickets. Ugh. I guess we should have realized that everyone around us had like tupperware. While Mike
Placa de Les Arcades
Everyone gathering around bowls of stew
went back to the apartment to grab some bowls, I decided to buy myself a commemorative earthenware bowl for 7€ - on the inside is painted a nice picture of the romanesque bridge by my school, and it says "The 41st Escudella of St. Anthony, 2010".
Eventually we were back in line and first had our bowls filled meat (well, mostly fat since it was almost out) and then the stew. Mike and I went and found some additional delicious-looking sausages at another stand and had them dump those in our stew as well. Finally we grabbed some bread and headed to a table to eat. The stew was very hearty and delicious and really hit the spot on the chilly afternoon. There was also wine to be had, but I had had enough the night before :-)
Once we were done we grabbed some tortell, a Catalan o-shaped pastry stuffed with marzipan, and headed back up the hill to our apartment. Twas quite a nice free and delicious lunch!
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