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#SundayFunday – It’s an Experience at Bocado Tapas Wine Bar

Bocado Paella

In this fickle town, going out for dinner has become an epic battle amongst the most indecisive people. The new restaurant expansion has left food lovers in a world unknown filled with diner’s remorse, food envy, and other food-related regrets. Ultimately, food lovers are trying to satisfy their cravings at every new place with a certain level of FOMO – fear of missing out – as a new place opens down the road. However, there’s one establishment in Worcester that remains in a world of its own with a unique position to satisfy the utmost indecisive foodie.

Representing the underrepresented Spanish culture, Bocado Tapas Wine Bar is at the epicenter of the ideal #SundayFunday destination. Its walls are adorned with paintings of matadors de toros and flamenco dancers, the dark crimson colors drape over the chandeliers, and the dark leather booths speak to comfort and indulgence. Before the presence of a menu, Bocado Tapas Wine Bar sets the tone for an experience beyond its culinary offerings. The sultry sounds of salsa music played in the background as the small flames of the tealight candles on every table give off the perfect amount of intimate lighting.

Once the menu is presented, the experience of Bocado comes full circle with an intricate listing of tapas, Spanish wines, and authentic paella dishes. In the Spanish culture, tapas are the making of every meal. They are the small, savory plates or canapés originating in Spain and captivating the senses of food lovers everywhere. Served in select bars in Spain, tapas have evolved into an elegant affair of cuisine and company. At Bocado, they have emerged as a game changer years ago and remain as an exciting feature of Worcester’s growing food infatuation, making it the ideal #SundayFunday pick.

They say to truly experience Bocado is to share the menu with your table. Enjoying meats and cheeses, tapas plates and a large plate entree or paella and dessert is the ultimate way to experience what Bocado has to offer.

From the charcuteria y queso – a culmination of imported and domestic meats and cheeses – to the acompanamientos of fried mixed olives with saffron allioli, starting a night out at Bocado is easy as the menu varies with exotic flavors and a hint of exploration. Tapas are offered as cold or hot dishes, tapas frias and tapas calientes.

Hearing tapas described as small savory plates doesn’t provide the full imagery of some of the dishes as they range from chuletas de cordero – grilled lollipop lamb chops with rosemary mustard oil – to pulpo a feira – grilled Spanish octopus, roasted potato drizzled with olive oil, smoked Spanish paprika and sea salt. The range is impeccable and pairing the tapas, whether frias or calientes, with Spanish wine and a large plate of paella produce a transformative experience back to the old country. The paella, topped with a variety of peppers, and loaded with everything from shrimp to chorizo to lobster and mussels, is the closest formation to the original Valencia-style paella – a darker, denser and drier paella. The dish is the perfect pairing for Bocado’s award-winning Spanish wine list.

If for nothing more than the transformative experience Bocado Tapas Wine Bar provides, transitioning every foodie to the essence of Spanish culture in Spain, it is deserving of our #SundayFunday seal of approval.

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The Inaugural Worcester Wine Festival Has a Secret Weapon: Restaurant Partners

Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA

What makes a great festival? Three things: dialed-in vendors, amusing sponsors, and killer venues. Lucky for us, the Worcester Wine Festival has promised the trifecta.

By now, everyone has caught wind of the Grand Tasting set for Union Station on Sunday, October 8th, where over 400 desirable wines and a VIP lounge stocked with Voss Water will make for nothing short of premium hydration. Consider our tickets purchased and our calendars marked. But, everyone knows that the secret weapon for a worthy festival is a slew of extravagant parties to compliment the main event. Bring on the wine wizardry at its finest! Call them intimate, exclusive, or down right ritzy – we’ve got the scoop on the best parties for festival weekend.

Altea's pairing Croque Madame with an effervescent Cava pairing
Altea’s brunch pairing of a Croque Madame served with an effervescent Cava.

Six Worcester restaurants have already put their distributors to work in an attempt to attain elusive bottles for chefs to masterfully pair during the Worcester Wine Festival. On October 6th, The People’s Kitchen is set on Scarpetta and they’ve pledged to present a different locally baked bread with each saucy course. On October 7th, Lock 50 is taking it “From the Beginning” by highlighting some of winemaking’s original grapes, alongside five courses hailing from corresponding regions. Also on October 7th, just up the block at Bocado, guests will enjoy a Pig Roast with a coveted selection of Spanish wines. Mike Covino of Niche Hospitality Group explains, “Being part of this festival is important for the region and we are confident that our Bocado pig roast is going to elevate an imaginative dining experience for guests on the weekend of Worcester’s inaugural Wine Festival.”

If the private wine dinners, which run anywhere from $95-$150, aren’t in your budget, but you’d still like to be a festival insider – there are additional options. Lock 50’s Mimosa Brunch starts at 9 a.m. on October 7th and features an array of fresh fruit purees to start your morning for just $25 for four individual 187ml bottles of Prosecco and the ability to order from the menu to create your own pairing. Across town, Altea’s will kick off their own brunch, Bubbles & Brunch, on October 7th beginning at 11 a.m. Attendees will enjoy five paired courses with a French twist including spiced sugar beignets and crepes to remember. Owner, Oriola Koci shares, “We’ve been experimenting with bubbles in preparation for this exciting custom menu. The Worcester Wine Fesitval marks a whole new chapter for the potential of Altea’s bar program and we know the value, selection, and flavors will be memorable.”

Nothing gets us excited like an underground bartender battle. It just so happens that The Pint’s Godzilla Challenge falls on October 6th, the eve of the festival. Prime yourself for wine with a battle royale that pits Japan against New York, as Nikka Spirits take on Long Island Spirits in a test of elegance and technique.

Only a limited number of tickets are available for each of the private events on the festival’s website. Worcester’s top influencers will be there. Will you?

This article originally appeared on Worcester Wine Festival and is re-published with their permission.