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Tips on how to eat like a local in La Rioja

La Rioja is known all around the world because of its great wine. Now, even though that is a very good reason to visit this region, we can’t forget that aside from its vineyards, this area has traditionally been considered as a great place to grow vegetables, such as borraja, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, plums, cherries, pears, and so on. All these products are labelled under the “Huerta Riojana” designation. With such a wide variety of products you will surely find a lot of different dishes depending on the season. Keep reading if you want to know more tips on how to eat like a local in La Rioja.

Countryside town of Elciego in La Rioja
Countryside town of Elciego in La Rioja

There’s a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that says that “the best grapes are grown in a poor kind of soil.” If we reconcile this statement with the weather conditions in this area, we can conclude why La Rioja is so good at producing excellent wines. 

Therefore, our first recommendation would be to have some pinchos with a glass of wine. There are a lot of Bodegas where you can have a couple of glasses of wine along with some food, but we also suggest that you walk around Logroño or any other of the villages in La Rioja. You will surely find one of the many good bars and restaurants that prepare a good variety of tapas

If you want to go for a traditional dish, you should try the Bacalao a la Riojana (cod prepared with a sauce made from tomatoes, peppers and garlic) or the Patatas a la Riojana, a dish made with potatoes and chorizo. Also, as we mentioned before, this region is famous for its exceptional alcachofas (artichokes), cardo (thistle), and borraja (borage), so if you find any of those vegetables on your menu, go for it! And if you want to try them all, maybe you can order a Menestra de Verduras, which is a mixture of vegetables. 

Tips and Tapas recommends:

Main dishes:
Bacalao a la Riojana, Patatas a la Riojana or any dish with alcachofas, cardo or borraja.
Something you should definitely try:
Go to a couple of different bars and try a few Pinchos with a glass of wine. 
Something to drink:
A Rioja wine.
Something sweet:
Fardelejos de Arnedo made with almonds and oil. Or Mazapanes de Soto.

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