In the world of gastronomy, it is difficult to imagine a better way to pair wines than with tapas. The history of tapas is closely associated to our country’s history and, on top of that, it is the most exportable food product we have, according to Ferran Adrià.


In this context, the D.O.Ca. Rioja has partnered with Basque Culinary Center to launch the Rioja Wine & Tapas international competition, targeting students on their last year at culinary schools and universities in fifteen countries, who compete by creating tapas to pair with Rioja wines. Participants must be over 18 years old and have to be enrolled in their last year at a culinary school or university in one of the following countries: Mexico, Brazil, USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Russia, China, Japan and Taiwan. The winner will receive a cash prize of 4,000 euros and an intensive, one-week course for professionals at the Basque Culinary Center.

The contest was launched 1 September 2016 and the deadline for submitting proposals is 14 October. Participants must complete a form on the competition website ( to submit their culinary proposal and they will be asked for the written recipe, a picture of the tapa, the Rioja wine they have chosen to pair with their tapa and a brief explanation of why they have chosen that particular wine. Participants can choose any type of wine or brand, provided it is a Rioja.

The grand finale of the competition will be held in Spain on 17 November 2016 among four students from different countries and a finalist student from the Basque Culinary Center, as it is the school hosting this year’s competition. Finalists are to prepare their culinary proposal for 25 people and a panel of experts will choose the winning tapa. The finals will be part of a three-day trip to Spain, where the students can discover one of the world’s leading wine regions, the D.O.Ca. Rioja, and San Sebastian, one of the cities in the world with the greatest number of Michelin stars per square metre.