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A Chef Tours Rioja

22 June
2017-06-22 00:00:00
2017-06-22 00:00:00

A Chef Tours Rioja

Omni Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Rioja USA for the luxury hotel brand’s2017 “Flavors of the World” series, “Discover Rioja.” Returning October 1, the three-month-long culinary program will spotlight Rioja and its undiscovered culture, wineand cuisine through signature Omni programming nationwide, giving guests andcustomers insight into new epicurean discoveries and experiences, while alsoeducating them about the food and wine within this region.

Inherent to each “Flavors of the World” campaign is a much-coveted immersion tripwhere Omni’s culinary team explores every corner of the featured region. CamronWoods, Executive Chef of the Omni La Mansión del Rio in San Antonio, Texas, justreturned from Rioja, where he was able to savor the rich wines and cuisine of Spain.

“Discover Rioja” marks the tenth installment of Omni’s “Flavors of the World” series,expanding the rich roster of past partnerships such as 2015’s “¡Destinación Chile!,”2014’s “Taste Washington,” and 2013’s “Simply Street Food.” Omni’s “Flavors of theWorld” programs have also featured the wines and foods of Italy, Argentina, and France, among others.The Omni Team in RiojaThis trip was an incredible opportunity for our team to immerse ourselves into the local flavors, cultures and traditions of Rioja. Back in the U.S., we had tried winesfrom many of the wineries we were planning to visit, but nothing compares to beingin Spain and experiencing everything on the ground firsthand.

Our Omni team spent a week in Spain—each day we visited several wineries (orbodegas), getting a complete tour of the vineyards, as well as the processing andaging facilities. While each stop was unique and special, I particularly enjoyed ourvisits to Marqués de Riscal and Conde de los Andes. Marqués de Riscal was our veryfirst stop in Rioja, and I think that alone made it memorable, but also because it issituated next to the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Frank Gehry hotel. The architecture, the quality of wine and tapas, the views of the surrounding historic town—it was allbreathtaking! You simply can’t find anything like it back home. Conde de los Andeswas a very different experience, and notable for other reasons. The bodegas featurea series of underground caves and cellars, with collections of wines dating back tothe late 1800s. The history in this area of the world is truly unparalleled.

With that being said, throughout the trip and our visits to the various bodgeas, wewere able to see the grapes, feel the climate and terroir, smell and taste the wines .. .we used all of our senses! Thinking back to the trip, the variety was probably themost remarkable thing I noticed in Rioja. Although we were generally tasting aCrianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, each winery produced wine that had its own veryunique attributes. Especially the Tempranillo grapes—some had subtle differences,but others were very noticeable. In addition, it was fascinating to learn about howmany of these wineries are family-owned, and have been for generations. What aneat story! Also, despite Rioja’s “Old World” status, I felt that the innovation used insome of the wineries was very forward-thinking. Overall, we found that Rioja winesare complex yet very drinkable. They are very food friendly and pair well with avariety of dishes.

I also believe that there’s much to learn about Spanish cuisine. I think many peoplehave a very specific notion of what Spanish food is . . . but the cuisine is diverse, yetsimple. We tasted everything from jamón and chorizo to foie gras and whiteasparagus—very simple preparations of incredibly flavorful ingredients at their peakseason. We savored some pretty incredible meals, and enjoyed authentic pintxos,which are more commonly known here as tapas. They’re literally everywhere you go,and at all hours of the day. You can pretty much walk into any town bar orrestaurant and there will be rows upon rows of delectable pintxos—everything fromvermouth-filled olives, to anchovies served with pickled green peppers, to croquettesfull of cheese, meats—you name it! To top it off, all the ingredients are incrediblyfresh and flavorful, so it makes for a great snack, appetizer or meal.

I think the real challenge for us back here in the U.S. will be to convince our gueststo slow down in their lives and enjoy the food and wines of Rioja the way it wasintended. It was great for us all to experience this way of life and we hope ourguests will too in the upcoming season. It is clear that these folks work to live—notlive to work—and we want to exude that sentiment when our guests visit us and enjoy our fantastic menu.

Read more here.

RiojaWine Calle Estambrera, 52
2017-06-22 00:00:00
Calle Estambrera, 52 26006 LOGROÑO (La Rioja). ESPAÑA.
(34)941 500 400 (34)941 500 664 info(at)