Thursday, 29 May 2008

The " La Rioja " Region...Not only famous for its Wines.



La Rioja is a small mountainous province of northern Spain. It is mostly agrarian, fantastic fruits and vegetables are grown here, but its main industry is its world renowned wine production. It has more than 500 bodegas and wineries.

The capital of the Rioja region is the ancient Roman river port of LogroƱo. The main outlaying towns and villages are Cameros, Anguiano and Calahorra followed by Haro, Najera , Santo Domingo, Ezcaray, Arnedo and Cervera.

The area can be divided into two - Rioja Alta, with its higher rainfall and milder climate and Rioja Baja, which is hotter and more arid. Its fertile plains have been producing wines since Roman times with the two areas boasting some of the finest high quality and well known wines in the world.

The delights of La Rioja cuisine are a gourmet lovers dream and are as wide and varied as its landscapes. Heavy stews are popular to combat the colder climate in the north to lighter dishes in the south including an ample selection of locally produced vegetables. Potatoes dishes flavoured with a spicy sausage called chorizo is one of the more typical dishes. Young goat or lamb ( Cordero) roasted over vine cuttings is another favourite. Local hand caught Trout and Barbel are amongst the most popular fish dishes and tripe ( Callos ) dishes and cheeses ( Quesos ) being ever present on most menus.

The region is well known for its quality crafts such as fine furniture, barrels, utensils and wooden carvings, leather goods, tapestries and wicker work. Colourful ceramics and metal work are also very popular in this part of Spain.

The natural and beautiful landscapes of the La Rioja provide the outdoor activity enthusiasts with so many options such as hiking, climbing and other mountain related sports. Skiing facilities can be found in the well known Valdezcaray resort . Water sports lovers are well catered for at El Rasillo. Cycling is popular throughout the whole region. Hunting is possible in three areas where you can fish for carp, trout, crabs and barbel amongst other species.

La Batalla del Vino ( The battle of the wine ) in Haro on June 29th is an authentic battle which finds participants being sprayed in a shower of wine. The ancient Danza de los Zancos, held in Anguiano on June 22nd is a day of traditional dancing on stilts.

La Vendimia is held in Logrono on September 21st where displays of grape-treading are a plenty along with an array of colourful floats, side shows and not least you will get the chance to taste the very best wines which the name “Rioja” has become famous for.

The Santo Domingo de la Calzada fiestas held on May 12th include parades and dances and extends to many neighbouring villages.

La Batalla del Vino ( The battle of the wine ) in Haro on June 29th is an authentic battle which finds participants being sprayed in a shower of wine. The ancient Danza de los Zancos, held in Anguiano on June 22nd is a day of traditional dancing on stilts.

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