Rioja wines played a leading role on World Tapas Day, organised in 17 countries by the Spanish Tourism Institute (Tourspain) and the Tasting Spain association. The event aims to promote the tapas culture and attract a greater number of tourists through food. The D.O.Ca. Rioja was a global partner of this initiative, providing wines for the 127 events held across the world and presenting a study on the history of tapas in Brussels. The study was carried out by the Basque Culinary Center and sponsored by the Rioja Control Board.
The Navarrese chef Pedro Larumbe, President of Tasting Spain, said that “tapas are associated with Spanish culture. They are not just a bite to eat but also the atmosphere which is created,” so he considers it important to defend the term ‘tapas’ on the international market. In this regard, the President of the D.O.Ca. Rioja, José María Daroca, explained that «wine is an essential part of the tapas experience» and Rioja seeks to «educate consumers in wine and food culture in an attractive way,» this being the reason why it has joined the Tourspain initiative.
The European capital was chosen for the presentation of the study ‘Tapas, the experience behind a bite of food’ where the authors Fréderic Duhart and Izaskun Zurbitu examined the historical features of tapas and the current definition of the tapas experience through the opinions collected from food experts around the world. Tapas became a gastronomic concept in the 20th century based on a Spanish culture existing since time immemorial and booming across the world in the 21st century. Tapas are more than just the format of a small portion of food. It has to do with eating while drinking and sharing, which is part of the Mediterranean diet —i.e., it is a way of experiencing the world, an experience of sharing socially and pairing drink and food.