Maude’s Journey through Rioja
Returning from an immersive research trip to Rioja, Curtis Stone, Executive Chef Justin Hilbert, and Director of Restaurant Operations & Wine Director, Ben Aviram, concluded that Rioja was the perfect debut region for Maude. Both Justin and Curtis have a personal connection to Spain. Justin staged at Andoni Luis Aduriz’s Michelin two-star restaurant, Mugaritz. Curtis fell in love with the rich beauty and culture of the country so much so he held his wedding in Majorca. These experiences have left a lasting impression on the chefs about the food, wine, and culture that come from the country.
La Rioja is known for its vegetable products providing local restaurants with a wide choice for their menus. Their fruit, honey, cheese, and olive oil are excellent, as well as the traditional mushrooms.
The team sampled the region’s best, newest, and most unique wines educating themselves on what exciting wine pairings possibilities may emerge.
It was important to firsthand understand this beautiful gem. Aside from talking to some of Rioja’s top chefs and winemakers, they searched for their favorite tapas in Calle Laurel and Laguardia; went mushroom hunting, made goat cheese and chorizo, chatted to locals, spent time cooking, eating, understanding, absorbing all that this wonderful region has to offer.