At the Cochon555 event last weekend, there was a table hosted by the Rioja team, sharing information and an invitation to the Rioja Wine & Tapas Fest for this past weekend. Sold.
Saturday was a gorgeous day in Chicago, so it was a lovely start to the day to join other food & wine fans in the Great Hall of Union Station. The sister and I checked in around 12:20 (with 40mins left of the VIP hour), picked up our Rioja wine glass, and made our way into the event space.
First station spotted – Jamon Iberico. If you’ll remember from my Cochon555 post, our first station there was the Prosciutto station. Yes, we love our charcuterie!
Next stop – wine. I mean, where to begin?! There were so many choices, all friendly wine reps, and just… a lot of wine to be sampled. I stuck with the tempranillos for their low-acidity and fruitiness, and then found a favorite Rosado to sip on.
Just before the VIP hour was over, we ran into some friends – Steve Green of #foodiechats and Kat Levitt of A Girl & Her Food. We also met Christina of Chritiques – we had coincidentally just started following each other on Instagram this past week. It’s always so nice to meet other foodies and bloggers in person, and #foodiechats actually has had a lot to do with making that happen!
One of my favorite dishes of the day was from Mexique’s Chef Carlos Gaytan’s. A smokey mussel in a saffron broth, sprinkled with grasshopper powder, and a chicharon. I actually grabbed some bread from another table to dip into the saffron broth. So delicious!
Another favorite was the spicy shrimp sandwich from Birds & Bubbles (NYC).
For dessert, we enjoyed the ice-cream bar (banana sorbet covered in salted caramel, chocolate and almonds) from Zarlengo’s Italian Ice. I’m not a huge banana-flavor girl, but this was a perfect ending to the day.
The Rioja Wine & Tapas event was well organized and executed, great chefs and brands represented, and a friendly foodie crowd to mingle with for a few hours.