UK craves Spanish wining and dining

British foodies are passing over Bordeaux and Burgundy in favour of Spanish Rioja to match their increasingly relaxed dining habits, according to a new survey.

No fewer than 20% of those surveyed had ordered a bottle of Rioja at  restaurant in the last six months (Photo: db)

Around 25% of those surveyed had ordered a bottle of Rioja at restaurant in the last six months (Photo: db)

Research carried out by Wine Intelligence found that around a quarter of 1,000 British diners had ordered a bottle of the famous Spanish red in the past six months. This is compared to just 13% saying they had drank Bordeaux with their food in the same period, and only 7% choosing Burgundy.

The change in tastes away from French classics mirrors the shift in British eating habits from fine dining to more informal Iberian-style cuisine, according to a separate study by Wines of Rioja.

It found that 70% of people surveyed now prefer relaxed Spanish dining, with only 20% showing an interest in fine dining and just 13% praising classic, formal food service.

London’s restaurant scene is quickly having to adapt to these recent shifts in food fashion. Last week, Fitzrovia restaurant Fino – one of the capital’s first eateries to fly the flag for premium Spanish cuisine – served its final meal, as it could no longer face the increasing competition from more informal tapas bars.

Its owners, Sam and Eddie Hart, plans to open a new Barrafina – a small chain of relaxed Spanish restaurants – to fill the gap.

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