wine

Un Tinto, Un Toro—Toro’s Wine Festival

Did I ever mention to you that one time I (along with three others) won 30 bottles of wine at the Toro Wine Festival?

Wine from Toro's Wine FestivalUh yeah, that’s all ours

I’m a big fan of Toro wine, as you may have guessed. Toro is a small town located in the Zamora province, and its wine is divine! (Sorry for that random rhyming. Really, so sorry.) It’s not as well known as Ribera del Duero (another favorite) or Rioja, but the wines from Toro are some of my favorites, perhaps because I’ve had the chance to try so many of them. In fact, I know way more about Toro wine than any wine in the U.S.!

Every year, Toro holds a wine festival, la Feria del Vino de Toro, in its bullfighting ring. You pay €5, and you get five drink tickets. You want to know a secret, though? Hardly anyone asks for them, meaning we were able to try more than five. Shhh! It’ll be our little secret.

Toro Wine Festival

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This year, the Toro wine board had posted that the person who uploaded the “most original” photo to their Facebook page would win … 30 bottles of wine!

30 bottles of wine?

That seemed like, um, a lot. All for simply uploading an “original” photo? I told my companions about this contest, and my friend Luis suggested the photo—and it seemed like a winner! After all, the idea was originality, and this was original.

Un Tinto, Un Toro

We took this photo on the sands of the bullfighting ring. Do you get it yet? You can be forgiven if you don’t. Toro’s wine slogan is “Un Tinto? Un Toro!”, which means “A glass of red wine? A glass of TORO red wine!” And toro also means “bull;” thus, the bull horns.

Un Tinto, Un Toro Waterlogue

We uploaded the first photo, and then I browsed around to see others’ photos, which didn’t impress me too much. There were a few selfies, a picture of a glass of wine in the bullfighting ring, and our photo, which we all felt stood above the rest. But of course we had to wait, so we just kept drinking wine for another hour.

IMG_0934Don’t you love the handy wine-carrying pouches?

After we all were feeling sufficiently lightheaded, we set off to have lunch, tapas-style, along Toro’s main thoroughfare, Puerta del Mercado.

On Monday, I got a private message on Facebook from Toro, stating that I was the winner … Where should they send the 30 bottles of wine? It goes without saying that we’re set for wine for the foreseeable future!

Have you ever tried Toro wine? Ever been to Toro?

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Exploring Vinos de Madrid with Madrid Food Tour

This past Tuesday, I participated in a wine tasting with Madrid Food Tour held at De Vinos. (Rough life, am I right?) Madrid Food Tour was founded by Lauren Aloise with the goal of showcasing all of Madrid’s gastronomical delights, with a bit of history added in to keep things interesting. They have several different types of tours, all of which you can book through their website.

On Tuesday, however, they hosted their first midweek wine tasting, led by James Blick. James knows a lot about wines, and I was excited to learn more about a relatively unknown region—Madrid. As James told us, up until 1990, such wine was sold a granel (“in bulk”). However, that year Madrid’s denominación de origen, or protected designation of origin, was established. Actually, as he explained to us, Madrid is basically made up of three subzones: Arganda del Rey, Navalcarnero, and San Martín de Valdeiglesias. The  majority of these wines are young and rosés, although there are some excellent red wines to be had (as we would find out).

Wine 1: Blanco Brut Nature by Bodegas Jesús Díaz

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Foods Spain Taught Me to Love

Moving to Spain has taught me a lot. It’s made me fluent in Spanish. I’ve learned how to navigate the metro system and bureaucracy. I’ve learned how to make foods I miss: crackers and peanut butter and Ranch dip. (Though I still long for bottled Ranch dressing and cottage cheese.) But more importantly, I’ve become a more-independent, self-assured person. I found my media naranja. I came to terms with just how important my home country is to me.

A lot of us experienced changes when we moved here. You feel me, auxiliares (and former auxiliares)? We learned just how little we knew about English grammar and Spanish slang. But we’ve also learned to love new foods. Thus, I asked some of you what foods you’ve learned to love since moving to Spain. Your answers were fun to read, and I’m listing them here.

Cat from Sunshine and Siestas: Snails

Eating Snails Spain Jerez

“So. Snails.

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Fiesta de la Vendimia—Grape Harvest in Toro

As they pass you by, the parade participants hand out mini cups of wine, sloshing a bit on the ground … but who cares? It’s Toro and wine is abundant today. Others hand out slices of spicy chorizo or slice off some jamón serrano for you to sample. I was lucky, as I seemed to get more wine and food than the rest of my party. We called it the efecto guiri, the guiri effect.
Guiri Fiesta Vendimia Toro

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