The Porrón, a staple of Spanish wine culture, is a unique drinking vessel that looks like a cross between a carafe and watering can. The neck is narrow like a bottle of wine, and the bottom is wide, like that of a decanter, fitted with a long and skinny spout.
Many who encounter the porrón for the first time ask themselves: “Is this thing a decanter I have never before seen?” or “Is this something the kids are doing these days?”. Not really!
Where does it come from?
The porrón is a traditional wine pitcher found throughout Spain. While its exact history is difficult to pinpoint, it is believed that it was invented as an hygienic way of drinking, in order to avoid infections and diseases, since there is no need for contact between the object and the mouth.
Its origins are in the regions of Catalonia and Tarragona, and the home to the oldest known porrón, made between the 14th and 15th centuries, is Tarragona. One thing is for sure: the porrón has been a part of the Spanish wine culture for hundreds of years, and it still carries a very special meaning these days.
When you visit a traditional, authentic restaurant in Catalonia, you may see people sitting around a big table passing around the porrón, taking turns guzzling from it, oftentimes with wine dribbling down their smiling faces. The porrón is a symbol of friendship, comradery, enjoyment and celebration. Although you don’t need a special occasion to use one, a porrón is almost a mandatory element in calçotadas, traditional local festivities and special gatherings between families and friends.
How do you drink from a porrón?
As the porrón gets passed around, the recipient grabs it around the neck and brings the spout up to their mouth wide open. In a quick movement, they tilt back the porrón; a continuous stream of wine pours out of the spout, and if skilled enough, into their open mouth.
It may sound easy, but actually, it takes time and practice to do it well. The point is to not let the lips come into contact with the porrón, and of course for the wine to coast into your mouth. Oftentimes, using the porrón will result in a spray of wine to the face, or the table seated behind you.
Here are some steps that will make it easier for you:
- Pour the wine into the porrón;
- Bring the tip of the porrón as close to your lips as you can without making contact. Tilt it forward slowly, until the stream flows into your mouth;
- Gradually extend the porrón higher for a longer flow;
- For experts only: Extend your arm completely to achieve an incredibly thin and high stream!;
- To stop the flow, gradually lower the porrón;
- With a quick movement of your wrist, tilt the spout up to stop the steam.
On every full-day tour at Spanish Trails, you are guaranteed an opportunity to try the porrón during the three-course Catalan lunch, which is included in almost all our day trips. The next time you take a tour from Barcelona, come experience the true Spanish wine culture with Spanish Trails!