Guess who is living in the 2012 Gastronomic Capital of Spain? (capital española de la gastronomía) That’s right, this girl! Luckily I grew up in a family of pretentious wine snobs and professional chefs, and I know what that actually means. Gastronomy, culinary, cooking, yummmmmm. It all comes down to one easy, simple concept: food. And of all the delicious, food-filled cities in Spain, Logroño was picked. Considering most people (Spaniards included) have no idea where Logroño is, this is pretty big deal. Talk about the underdog! Not that I need another excuse to go out and eat, nevertheless I was pretty pumped when I found this out last week. Yet another reason why I love living in La Rioja. Though, I am going to change the title to Culinary Capital of Spain, because (and let’s be honest here) when was the last time you heard “Gastronomic” spoken out loud or used in casual conversation? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
To kick off a food-filled year as the culinary capital of Spain, Logroño organized the first of many events called la Semana del Pincho (Pincho Week), where most of the pincho bars decided to feature one pincho that they wanted to promote for a low price. (If you are new to my blog, pinchos are northern Spain’s version of tapas, a small serving of food usually on a slice of baguette). I took full advantage, and like the true nerd that I am, I printed out the PDF in advance and highlighted the new pinchos I wanted to try and marked a tentative route out for each night. Don’t judge. Luckily, the tourist office aided my OCD and organized a pincho passport, where you could record all the pinchos you try and get stamped at each bar to enter a contest. And just as I consistently refuse to hand in my passport to the Dept. of State when it expires, I also refused to hand in my food passport. What prize could compare with a hand-written record of dozens of new pinchos marked with various amounts of smiley faces indicating level of tastiness? None, that’s what.
Luckily my fellow French foodophile, J, was just as enthusiastic as me to try as many new pinchos as possible last weekend. We spent most of our time hanging around calle San Juan, the lesser known pincho street in Logroño. I will definitely be going back soon. Probably tomorrow actually. There are so many more to try! Here are my five favorite pinchos from the Semana del Pincho. Hopefully you’ve eaten before having a look; I know I get the muchies just writing about it! Enjoy!!
Have you ever partaken in a culinary event or week like this before? Have any suggestions for me on how to make the most of it? Which pincho looks the best to you?
Quail eggs with boletus and caramelized onions (left) quail eggs and chorizo (right) in Bar Samaray, San Juan 3
Beef fillet with Roquefort sauce in Bodeguilla los Rotos, San Juan 14
Beef sirloin with onions and zucchini in a red wine reduction in Bar la Cueva, San Juan 13
Skewered chicken marinated with mild honey mustard in Bar la Esquina, 35
Bar a Tu Gusto, San Juan 21. I didn’t write the name of this masterful creation down (bad blogger moment, I was too hungry) Let’s just say it had shrimp, salmon, goat cheese, seafood mousse, salad and a vinaigrette sauce on top.