My culinary trip to La Rioja, España.

Last year I went to visit a very good friend of mine in La Rioja. His name is Juan and he’s from Logroño. We have lot’s of things in common Juan and I, but none of these compares to our common love for good food and good wine!
He and his family showed me a great time around the La Rioja wine region, and I want to share this great experience with you…
The trip started with a pretty long drive from Granada- where I was living at the time- to arrive in Logroño to find a smoking hot plate of Patatas a la Riojana that Juan’s dad had made for us for lunch. So we started off the vacation with this typical plato from La Rioja which is a spicy potato stew made with sausages and peppers… irresistible!
We then had a siesta to rest from the trip and the hearty stew eating!
Afterwards, we took some time to walk around and discover Logroño, a pleasant town of northern Spain built along a the river Ebro. There’s a lovely park along the riverbank where you can take a stroll and listen to some very nice concerts in the summer.
After the healthy walk in the park, we were a bit hungry and my mouth started watering as Juan began to tell me what was up on our schedule next!
We moved on to the main attraction of the city center, it’s famous street called Calle Laurel, the heart of cuisine and drinking in Logroño. Here it’s typical to stroll from one bar to the next eating pinchos, northern spain’s own special version of tapas. Originally they were called pinchos because they were pinchados (in spanish) or as we say… stuck on a pole- like a skewer! Now the pincho tradition has much evolved so only some of those that your will find in La Rioja are skewers. There are all sorts of types, and it’s the custom to stop in each bar to eat only one pincho, accompanied by a glass of Rioja red wine or a corto, which is a half glass of beer. Why the half-glass tradition you may ask? Well it’s simply to move on to the next bar and to the next pincho more quickly… you’ve got to love these people!

Each bar on the street is specialized in a few different types of pincho. The first place we went to, called El Champi, only serves mushrooms skewers cooked with a delicious shrimp sauce. We then moved on to place that had toasted home-made bread topped with delicious Morcilla de Burgos. This is a specialty of northern spain, but it’s not for  picky eaters- a category which clearly does NOT include me. It’s basically a sausage made with pig’s blood and rice. I know it sounds gross, but it’s delicious! At the next stop, we ate a small sandwich of marinated anchovies and peppers. Then we got a pincho topped with famous spanish jamón (crude ham) and melted cheese. After that, we stopped at a place where they gave us a big piece of tortilla de patatas, the tipical spanish potato omelet that just melts in your mouth! Then we savored another treat, bell peppers with a zesty tuna filling. And we gradually got more and more satisfied, more full, and let’s face it… quite a bit more tipsy!

The criss-cross path of Calle Laurel

At this point, my friend Juan pointed out that along the Calle Laurel there’s a criss-cross path engraved in steel on the ground. With their characteristic humor, people from Logroño say that this is the path that everybody ends up stepping on if they visit this street, because after you wander from one pincho to the next, you may very well wind up taking a rather tipsy walk home!

So after this mouth-watering tale, I bet you all really want to go and visit my friend Juan! Well I can’t guarantee that that’s going to be possible, but I will guarantee you the second best thing:

Take Tourcrafters Special Spanish Wineries 7 day Escorted Tour!

With this tour you will feel as if you have been invited by a friend, so just sit back, relax and let us show you a great time!
You will see the La Rioja Wine Region and much more…

Click here to check out our Special Offers page and discover the fun!

– Chiara Galli –

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