You might have heard that the James Beard Foundation hosted it’s 2015 award show this past week here in Chicago for the first time. While that alone is very exciting, the various events that joined in the festivities was also very fun for those of us who love exploring the food and wine world.
The Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival planned a celebration of their wines to be held at Union Station benefitting the James Beard Foundation. More than 200 wines, tapas, jamon bar, cheese cave, paella garden, live music and a wealth of talented chefs were the hit of the show. Besides the obvious opportunity to try different wines and tapas native to this region, it also inspired future travel to Spain to see the beauty of the land firsthand. In the meantime, I thought I would share a little about the Rioja region with you to entice you to try the delicious wines and foods of the area.
The highly talented Chefs:
Rioja is a privileged region for growing grapes and making top-quality wines, with a unique personality and an exceptional aptitude for ageing. The Rioja wine region is located in northern Spain, on both sides of the River Ebro. Rioja is bordered by mountains and threaded with rivers. Known for its world class wine and delicious cuisine – from tapas to culinary creations – the region highlights its beautiful landscape and its medieval walled-villages, mixed with some of the most incredible modern architecture in the world.
In terms of wines, the region produces renowned reds as well as excellent whites and rosados. The region’s cool growing conditions and sheltered climate produces elegant wines that are well balanced and structured with bright acidity, moderate alcohol, well integrated tannins with aging potential, all under stringent quality controls worldwide.
The grape varieties that are currently authorized in Rioja are:
- RED: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Maturana Tinta
- WHITE: Viura, Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Maturana Blanca, Turruntes, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo
Throughout the event, there were opportunities to try different cheeses and meats as well as tapas made by the Chefs.
And of course the tapas themselves:
Lest we forget dessert,
Sweet Basil Gelato with Rioja Poached Beets and Fresh Blueberries or Banana Sorbet with Milk Chocolate, Caramel and Chili Lime Peanuts
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Some fabulous musical ambience of Spain:
The Union Station Architecture:
If you haven’t tried wines from Rioja, Spain, you need to explore the varieties. You will be thrilled with what you discover. And may just be as intrigued about a trip to Spain as I am.
For the James Beard winners, please see http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/2015-james-beard-award-winners
Thanks for stopping by!
Sounds like an amazing experience. The food looks great.
This looks amazing! I would love to try these wines 🙂
Lots of good eating. I love learning more bout wines.
The food looks delicious. It sounds like a wonderful experience.
I am slowly learning to love tapas and wine coz my bosses love these things and it’s what we have for dinner all the time. Tapas and wine. They lived in Spain for a time so I guess its a huge influence.
Great pics! Was fun to scroll through. Didn’t know that much about wine to begin with but my didi loves the stuff will share with her
I would love to go to the Beard awards. And the event sounds like so much fun. And you get to taste wines – even better.
amazing event! Full of great people to meet! And the food? Wuo! delicious!
Spain is such a beautiful country! I’d love to go there and just enjoy their beautiful sights and their wonderful food. These are amazing, from the cheeses down to the sweets!
The food looks delicious. It sounds like an amazing experience! The wine sounds great too!
That is so awesome he gave me the shivers! It’s always amazing to taste food that chefs offer themselves.
Wow. What an exciting experience!
I would definitely love to experience these wines. Maybe I’d find a taste that I like!
Tapas are best paired with wine and cheese. Had the opportunity to enjoy taps aamd good music when I visited a tapas restaurante years ago. would want to experience it again, but this time in Spain.
Wow! Those seem like really great wines! I want one right now!
That is absolutely a great experience and the food was look amazing, honestly it makes me hungry
You got me eye on the food there. Sounds like a wholesome experience! Thanks for sharing.
Everything looks so good! I love tapas and wine. It’s just a fun way to eat for me with little plates and servings. Tasting a little bit of everything and sipping the different wines is a nice experience.
You are so right! Great way to try everything. Thanks.
I’m all over the Chocolate Pecan pie. Drool all over my keyboard. 🙂 Your pictures are beautiful. Interesting food combinations. WE were in Chicago during a food festival and always say we want to go back. Love Chicago!
Thank you! There are so many amazing festivals in Chicago for foodies that it is always a great time to visit.
All of that food and wine sounds amazing. I’ve never been to Spain before. That’s one of the places on my list of places I’d love to travel though. I think it would be an amazing experience to go to Spain.
I would definitely love to taste those food and wine 🙂 Spain is a nice place to visit!
I bet the food they cook taste delicious from the photos above.
Oh wow! Wine, tapas and all these yummy desserts! I would have loved attending this event!
Yum! That cheese looks so good! Spain looks wonderful!