Grape harvesting is almost over but I don’t want to miss this opportunity to share with you my favourite grape recipes.
It is beautiful work but also tiring because in order to pick the grapes you are in a squatting position for several hours so you can imagine the backache you have after!. Making wine is in many cases a family business and everybody helps in the harvesting of grapes: as that old saying goes, many hands make light work!
Most of my friends’ families own vineyards and they have always said to me that anyone can come to help out. I have to admit that I only helped once but I remember it was tough work. You also have to learn to use the shear to cut the vine so you have to be a bit handy. But it is not as hard as it sounds. You work in a beautiful landscape, have lots of lunches together and lots of fun.
The harvesting of wine grapes starts around October but it depends on the region, the weather and also the type of grape. In La Rioja they start with white grapes and then move on to black grapes. (Yes, we have white grapes, even though La Rioja is well known for its red wines). As you can imagine, grape harvesting can last for several weeks if you own many vineyards. Every day is a repeat of the previous: wake up very early, go to the vineyard (which is not always that close to your house) pick the grapes and then transport them to the winery for the next step, crushing the grapes.
If you want to know more about the steps involved in making wine I recommend that you visit La Rioja in October. You will enjoy this unique experience. Have a walk in the vineyards and then visit any of the wineries of the region. Most of them offer guided tours in different languages and explain how wine is made while you can see all the processes from the harvesting to the finished product. Some of them also offer a wine tasting at the end. It goes without saying that you need to buy some wine to bring home with you! Go for Red Wine, it’s our speciality.
I want to thank my friend Amparo who has taken these stunning photos below. These pictures capture the magic and labour that is behind a good Rioja wine.
I have heard that this year the harvest has been plentiful and very good. ¡Congratulations to everybody for such a great work!
Did you know that you can use grapes for cooking? To celebrate grape harvesting, I’m going to share with you my two favourite grapes recipes: Ricotta toast with grapes & Spanish ham and for breakfast a Creamy porridge with grapes.
This is a simple and tasty toast that can be made for dinner or for a delicious snack. I have tried grapes with many things, meat, stews, salads…they are very versatile. They combine really well with savoury ingredients like Spanish Ham or cheese. I’m sure you still have some grapes to try this yummy & delicious Ricotta toast with grapes.
Grapes look very sophisticated and makes these toasts to look gorgeous. You can also make a small version of this which would be perfect as an appetizer for a special dinner.
I’m not reinventing the wheel here! Porridge is a very ancient meal. It became popular in hard times because all you need to make it are oats and water. In 15 mins or less the oats melt into the almond milk becoming a yummy and creamy breakfast bowl. It is so delicious and comforting that I’m not surprised it is still a very common breakfast in Ireland and Scotland.
This creamy porridge with white and black grapes requires only 5 basic ingredients and a few spices from your pantry. Cinnamon, cloves or ground ginger are perfect for it. Don’t miss this porridge breakfast bowl that will warm you up in the morning!
¿Do you have any special recipe with grapes? I’ll love to see your ideas. If you give these recipes a try let me know and use #shoothecook in your Instagram pics so I can see the result 😉 Than you!
I miss my homeland so much and while I was writing this post I felt I was at home. I miss my homeland a lot but what I miss even more is all the people I left there. I want to dedicate this post to my friends that every year come back home to help their families to harvest the grapes.