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Archive for September, 2016

With the months of September and October the autumn is coming, and with it the time of the grape harvest in Spain. This season is celebrated traditionally with many wine and harvest festivals throughout the Spanish wine regions and even more wineries open their doors to public. Especially in this season, the Spanish wine regions offer numerous possibilities to experience the Spanish wine culture!

vineyards

vineyards in Catalonia

Festivals

Many of the Spanish wine regions celebrate the season of grape harvesting with the so-called “Fiesta de la Vendimia”, the grape harvest festival. Part of the festivals are activities such as the traditional grape treading, the tasting of the first must, contests and folkloric dances. Some major grape harvest festivals are celebrated in Rioja Alavesa, Logroño, Burgos and Jerez, where the whole city or region participates in the activities for several days.


Special wineries

There are many wineries in Spain, but some of them deserve special mentioning, due to unique features or a specific focus. one of the most famous wineries in La Rioja area is Marqués de Riscal, which is one of the oldest wineries in the region, but features a modern building, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. The combination of architecture and oenology can also be found in other wineries, like Bodegas Baigorri, Bodegas Ysios or Bodegas Sommos that were also designed by renowned architects and are real works of art.

marques-de-riscal

Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Rioja Alavesa

Another aspect that often is focused is the ecological one. Wineries like Parés Baltà, Bodegas Aroa and Bodega Adrada Ecológica pay special attention to the ecologic and biodynamic cultivation of grapes and elaboration of wines. Most of the wineries offer visits, where you can explore the vineyards and cellars and find out more about the wine making process.


Wine tastings and gastronomy

If you decide to visit a winery, it could be a good idea to combine the visit with a wine tasting. Normally, the wineries offer combined visits, where you can taste the wine that is produced there, after the tour through the winery. Some wineries created even more differentiated tastings, combining the savouring of wine with local products as cheese, ham, chocolate or olive oil.

wine-tasting

wine and ham tasting

(photo source: Catalunya Convention Bureau)

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The football season has started and some matches of the Spanish league La Liga and the Champions League have already been played. This means that also the football fans start to meet regularly again to support their teams. Every community of football fans has several bars or restaurants where they tend to meet before, during or after the matches. In case they don’t attend the match in the stadium, many fans choose to watch their team’s matches in a place with a great atmosphere, together with other people supporting the same team and enjoying some delicious snacks and a cold beer.

Real Madrid

For supporters of Real Madrid there are a lot of possibilities to choose a bar close to the stadium Santiago Bernabeu. in the Chamartín district, the streets and bars are full of fans on match days. There are some popular bars that are a good option to watch a Real Madrid match: Penalti Lounge Bar is a welcoming bar and restaurant, combing the love for gastronomy and football, and offering some special hamburgers. The Realcafé Bernabeu is another perfect place for Real Madrid supporters, located inside the stadium with direct views to the pitch and a nice terrace in summer. It offers homemade and modern cuisine, with some gourmet influences.

 

santiago-bernabeu

Atlético de Madrid

On Atlético de Madrid match days, the fans gather in the area of the Manzanares River, close to the Vicente Calderon stadium and the whole area turns red and white. Some of the common bars are located right at the stadium: El Doblete is situated next to the Gate 32, its interior decoration is inspired by the clubs successes. The 1903 Sports Bar is a modern bar, located next to Gate 23, and offers different areas and several screens at match days. Right at the riverside, one can find La Esquina del Calderón that serves homemade and traditional Spanish cuisine and of course shows all the matches. El Rancho, also located close the stadium, is specialized in Argentinian meat – the country where coach Diego Simeone and players Augusto Fernández and Ángel Correa are from.

 

vicente-calderon

FC Barcelona

The Bar Llopart is a good option if you want to watch a Barça match in Sants. Upon entering the bar, you already see numerous flags and scarfs on the walls which creates the perfect atmosphere to watch a match while enjoying the local cuisine and a nice cold beer. Another bar where FC Barcelona supporters would meet on match days is Taverna de Barcelona, situated a few steps from Plaça Catalunya. This bar and restaurant’s decoration is inspired by Barcelona in the 30’s and delicious tapas and Spanish beers are served – the perfect surrounding to see your team win.

camp-nou-stadium

Camp Nou stadium

camp-nou

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the Basque city San Sebastian has a lot to offer for both, locals and visitors that are looking for culinary specialties. besides many markets with local products and numerous pintxo and txakoli wine bars, the city offers you a remarkable number of Michelin star restaurants – a perfect mix, if you seek special gastronomic experiences.

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San Sebastián (Source: San Sebastián Turismo)

pintxos are the Basque version of tapas – small snacks that are offered in bars or taverns, often presented on top of the counter. the main difference to tapas is that pintxos are normally served on a skewer on top of a piece of bread. they are typical for the Basque Country and in San Sebastian you can find pintxos in every bar, especially around the old town. you should not miss to try them! some nice places to try pintxos in San Sebastian are the pintxo bars Gandarias and Astelehena. typical pintxos include seafood or fish like cod or anchovies, tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) or stuffed peppers.

we recommend to accompany the delicious Basque food with a typical Basque beverage – txakoli wine. this is a sparkling, dry and fruity white wine with moderate alcohol content. normally served as an aperitif, it is also a perfect accompaniment to pintxos. the txakoli wine is served cold and from a height, so the aroma can develop perfectly, when the beverage splashes into the typical tall glasses. to discover more about the txakoli wine production, it’s a good idea to visit a txakoli winery in the surroundings of San Sebastian, where you will be introduced into the production process and, of course, can taste the txakoli wine on site.

San Sebastian also offers you very special and high end cuisine. the city’s 9 Michelin star restaurants have received a total of 16 Michelin stars. all of them offer you very special gourmet moments. a very nice restaurant to visit is Akelarre, one of the few Spanish three star restaurants, which is located on the side of Monte Igeldo hill, overlooking the Bay of Biscay. this location lets you relish the cuisine – a mix of tradition, vanguard and haute cuisine – while enjoying stunning views of the sea and the bay.

 

 

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