Postcard from Logrono

Postcard from Logrono

by Dejou Marano

Logroño proudly beats as the cultural heart and capital of the La Rioja region in Northern Spain. The River Ebro frames Logroño to the north and serves as the natural border between the communidades of La Rioja and Basque Country.  With its origins as a Roman settlement that later fell to the Celts, Logroño has been a prized stretch of land heavily fought over throughout history, the scene of frequent battles between the Kings of Navarre and the Kings of Castile. The ancient city has also served as a welcomed refuge for weary travelers to rest as they make their pilgrimage along the Camino De Santiago (Way of St. James), which extends out from the city through the region’s fertile vineyards and rolling countryside dotted by picturesque villages and ancient forts, before it continues onward toward the next stop in the city of Burgos.

Besides its rich historical pedigree, Logroño is also considered to be one of Spain’s most important centers for gastronomy, with a vibrant food culture that remains authentically  Riojan. A food and wine lover’s paradise indeed, the city’s culinary traditions are best experienced with a nighttime stroll along Logroño’s famed Calle Laurel for a sampling of the street’s best pinchos. Buzzing with over 50 tapas eateries each boldly dedicated to the preparation of one exceptional pincho specialty, Calle Laurel is an exciting environment to discover the flavors of Rioja while sipping the region’s bold Rioja wines. Logroño’s culinary and winemaking traditions converge every mid-September with the week-long Rioja Wine Harvest Festival, also known as the Fiesta de San Mateo (Festival of St. Matthew). Colorful parades featuring costumed Gigantes (Giants) and Cabezudos (Big Heads), or figures with large papier mache heads, fill the streets as traditional musical performances, grape stomping contests and of course wine tastings, are held throughout the city. A festival that exemplifies the vibrant local culture of Logroño, it also celebrates the historical traditions, distinct flavors and fine viticultural heritage of the La Rioja region.

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