Rioja Food Tour: Spanish Pilgrimage

A Seattle chef who was born in Spain returns every year to cook. The recipes here show what keeps drawing him back to Rioja.

Trudging up hillsides to find a spot where his cell phone will work doesn't bother chef Joseph Jiménez de Jiménez. Rioja may be remote, but he says, "If you love wine, food and peace, I highly recommend it." That's why when the Basque-born chef and co-owner of The Harvest Vine in Seattle embarks on his annual food pilgrimage to Spain, he always spends at least two weeks in Rioja's wine country cooking with top local chefs. He explains that while Rioja's chefs experiment with techniques and presentations, inspired by the sophisticated Basque cuisine, the hearty ingredients and rustic and fresh flavors always remain true to Rioja. And with the following seven recipes, which Jiménez de Jiménez created during his most recent visit, it's clear why he calls his time in Rioja an "authenticity check."

—Lily Barberio

PUBLISHED October 2002