La Rioja recipes

flag-of-la-riojariojaRegion: La Rioja

Capital: Logroño (population: approx 154,000)

Typical dish of Rioja: Caparrones

La Rioja Maps and guides: Get your travel guide here

rioja calahorra sculptureThink of La Rioja and you will probably think of wine - and you would be forgiven, for it certainly is the most celebrated and well-known product of this fascinating region. However, to enjoy great wine you need great food and the location means that La Rioja recipes can take the best influences from the surrounding areas to create a cuisine worthy of its famous wines.

Situated on the Camino de Santiago, La Rioja is almost like a crossroads; a cultural interchange in the heart of the old country where food and wine has been shared for centuries by generations of locals and travellers alike. The region has a colourful past - having been a much disputed territory throughout history and as a result, it is bursting with history and culture.rioja purple hut

In La Rioja cuisine, honest country food is combined with subtle cultural influences and transformed to a more sophisticated level but without losing its integrity; simplicity and quality are key here and the incredible choice of fresh ingredients makes it all possible. Potatoes, caparrón beans, peppers, artichokes and asparagus are just some of the great produce available here. In recent times, the cultural influences have stretched beyond Spain itself and it is not unusual to find influences from as far as Asia combined with local cuisine on restaurant menus.

The proximity of the Basque region has also been an influence on La Rioja recipes and the forward-thinking and open-minded approach to food of their neighbours reflects their own approach to wine, resulting in a mutual culinary respect between the regions.rioja valle de san nillan

Despite drawing on these neighbouring influences, La Rioja recipes have their own clear identity. It is no surprise that wine is often used in the cooking here and it can appear in every course - even the desserts. Potatoes of exceptional quality are grown here and they are more popular than in many other regions of Spain.

 

Due to its land-locked location, La Rioja recipes are slightly less influenced by the sea but fish is still popular and is often cooked simply in wine or with peppers, tomatoes and chillies. Salt cod is popular along with bream, trout, river crabs and mackerel.

The countryside provides a great backdrop for agriculture and there is an abundance of wonderful meat available including pork, lamb, quail, rabbit and snails. The meat also provides the ingredients for local specialities such as black pudding and chorizo.

La Rioja recipes

Spanish vegetable soup

Baked chorizo recipe 

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