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Real Rioja food

Make the most out of your holiday and taste all the best foods and dishes on the menus in Rioja with our gastronome’s hints and tips.

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How to experience real Rioja food

Want to experience real Rioja food while you’re on your wine tour in Spain? Rioja in Style make it part of every trip to take you to local hidden gem restaurants where you can taste real homemade cuisine. Plus, get some inspiration, and even ingredients, to cook at home, then you can always dream back to your time – and tastes – in Rioja…

What are the main ingredients in Rioja recipes?

Food in Rioja is diverse due to the wide range of local produce available, and all the influences that pilgrims travelling along the Way of Saint James brought into the region. There is a focus on meat and vegetables as the mainstay of meals, but also plentiful and various fresh salads. And of course, that famous wine often has a part to play – and not just for washing all that delicious food down…

Here are some of the foods and dishes you might try while eating out in Rioja:

  • Potatoes with chorizo
  • Caparrones (a red kidney bean and chorizo stew)
  • Pochas (beans) Rioja-style
  • Vegetable stew (which might include artichoke, chard, green beans, borage, baby broad beans, peas, carrots, spring onion, asparagus, small potatoes)
  • Lamb cutlets grilled on vine shoots
  • Cod Rioja-style
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Pears soaked in Rioja wine
  • Cakes made in the local monasteries with an Arab influence

What to look out for at the local food market

Due to the climate and fertile soil of the region, Rioja is one big natural fruit and vegetable garden. In fact, you might think it’s tricky to see organic labels on the food in the shops, but that’s because most of it is just naturally organically grown – there is no need for chemicals in this rich natural environment.

Here are some of the foods Rioja is famous for (and some of which you might be able to take home with you!):

  • Olive oil – this has been produced in the region since Roman times
  • The Rioja pepper
  • Alubias de Anguiano (a variety of red cup shelling beans)
  • Pochas (a variety of white cup shelling beans)
  • Asparagus, white, soft, with little or no fibrosity and have a balanced taste due to the cold nights and the quality of the waters and farming systems used.
  • Mushrooms
  • Rioja chorizo – this is known as the best chorizo and is the one Spaniards themselves buy
  • Camerano Cheese, which has been produced since the 11th century
  • Traditional artisan bread
  • Freerange Veal and lamb, from the Sierra de la Demanda
  • Pears from Rincón de Soto
  • Queen Claudia Green Plum
  • Walnuts