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The Best of Navarra Food and Wine
The Best of Navarra Food and Wine

Navarra, Spain, attracts a diverse mix of travelers each year. For centuries, those in search of a religious experience have passed through its lush lands during their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, while nature lovers have nourished their souls by hiking through the breathtaking Navarran Pyrenees. Meanwhile, thrill-seekers have long gathered in the capital city of Pamplona to make a daring, or some may say foolish, run with the bulls during the San Fermin festival, an event which was brought to exquisite life in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel, “The Sun Also Rises.” Finally, many gastronomic wanderers visit the region in search of a majestic food and wine experience.

If you count yourself among the last group of travelers, Navarra should top your list of destinations.

Navarra is known for having some of the best food in Spain. Considering that the country has quietly become a powerhouse on the European food scene, that’s quite a feat. The region’s winemaking industry has also been on the rise, finally starting to elbow in on offerings from France, Italy and Spanish neighbor La Rioja.

navarra wine and food

Bucket List Events travelers enjoying Navarran wine and cuisine on their trip to Running of the Bulls.

 

Food in Navarra: worth getting on a plane for

Navarra, Spain is lush and green, which means it produces outstanding produce. The Pyrenees, dotted with livestock, also cut through the region, providing endless supplies of top-notch beef, lamb and cheese. This combination means both meat-lovers and vegetarians can sit down to hearty meals while enjoying the region’s spectacular landscapes. You can’t go wrong with any dish, but make an effort to try these local favorites for a true taste of the region.

Pintxos are an absolute staple in Navarra. These bite-size treats consist of bread rolls topped with local delicacies such as chistorra sausage, Lizarra sardines, prawns, cheese or olives. The combinations are endless, and they can be paired with any variety of wine or cocktail. Don’t leave Spain without trying them.

pintxos navarra spain

White Asparagus, or espárragos blancos, is a Navarran specialty and is one of the first vegetables ever grown for human consumption. Delicate with a soft texture, this delicacy is best enjoyed in the spring. White asparagus is beloved all throughout Europe, and the Navarra region is considered to be one of the best for this crop.

white asparagus navarra

Navarran beef and lamb have unique flavors that are not to be missed. Juicy, tender and very lean, Pyrenees red meat is truly one of the best foods in Spain.

navarra foods lamb

Be sure to taste free-range lamb, straight from the region, during your time in Navarra.

Tudela artichokes are grown in 33 towns in Navarra and are prized for their medicinal properties. Luckily for you, they are also delicious. Try it mixed with local clams to take get a taste of Spain’s world-renowned seafood. Not only will you be able to try a variety of dishes using tudela artichokes during your time in Navarra, you can also take some home with you! You can buy these regional artichokes pickled and jarred, which makes for a fabulous souvenir.

artichokes navarra

 

World-class wine at bargain prices

As we already stated, Navarran wines have long had to compete with better-known wines in Spain and the rest of Europe. However, a decades-long effort to improve the reputation of the region’s wine industry is finally bearing fruit.

Navarra wine has been produced for centuries, but the region’s modern wine industry dates back to the 19th century. A phylloxera louse plague destroyed the vineyards of France, sending Bordeaux winemakers to Navarra and other parts of Spain to produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The plague eventually wiped out Navarra’s vineyards as well, but the industry recovered and expanded its varietals to take advantage of the region’s diverse climates and topographies.

navarra vineyards

Navarra’s wine region, located south of Pamplona, is sectioned into five zones: Baja Montana, Ribera Alta, Ribera Baja, Tierra Estella and Valdizarbe. In addition to the imported French varietals, the region also produces red varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. Its white varieties include Chardonnay, Viura, Moscatel de Grano Menudo and Malvasía.

While in Navarra, Spain, you will have your choice of dozens of high-quality local wines to pair with your meals. Don’t be afraid to quaff down any Spanish variety placed before you. It will always be delicious, and the price, thanks to the region having to compete in a tough market, will make you smile. However, a handful of local wineries have really made a name for themselves, so reach for their bottles first if given the chance.

Bodegas Chivite has been making wine for since the 17th century and produces a stellar muscat and a top-notch chardonnay. Other varieties include Vendimia Tardia and a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Tempranillo.

navarra wine chivite

The sprawling vineyards at Bodegas Chivite

Bodegas Ochoa planted its vineyards back in the 14th century and offers Rosado, Moscatel, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot. The owner, Javier Ochoa, is a tireless advocate for Navarra’s wine industry.

Bodegas Viña Magaña only started producing Navarra wine 35 years ago, but it has made a major impact on the region’s wine industry. The winery was one of the first to experiment with international grape clones and is known for its French varietals.

To feel like a real Navarran local, order a Kalimotxos. This traditional beverage mixes red wine with cola and is served over ice. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked for life and can impress friends at home with your cocktail expertise.

kalimotxos

Coca-Cola plus red wine? Try this favorite local cocktail just once and you’ll become a believer.


Delicious wine, mouth-watering food, breath-taking scenery, and an adrenaline-pumping bull run: the San Fermin Festival has something to delight each and every one of your senses. Join Bucket List Events at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain for exclusive balcony access, exciting tours, and a seamless trip from arrival to departure.


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