Venta Moncalvillo second MICHELIN Star
LOCATED IN THE SMALL VILLAGE OF DAROCA DE RIOJA, THE RESTAURANT OF BROTHERS ECHAPRESTO HIGHLIGHTS THE PRODUCTS OF PROXIMITY AND RESPECT FOR THE ORIGIN.
IT IS ADDED TO THE MICHELIN GREEN STAR RECEIVED LAST YEAR, AND TO THE FIRST STAR RECEIVED IN 2010.
Daroca de Rioja, 28 November 2023. The brothers Ignacio and Carlos Echapresto received tonight the second MICHELIN Star for their restaurant Venta Moncalvillo during the presentation of the MICHELIN Guide Spain 2024, which was held today at the Auditori Fòrum of the International Convention Centre of Barcelona.
“It has been an unforgettable night full of emotions for us, our team and our family. We feel this Star as a recognition of the work we have been doing for 27 years, but we feel it, above all, as an award for our mother ‘Rosi’ without whom we would not be here, because she, who passed away a few years ago, was the one who helped us in the kitchen at the beginning, our inspiration, and our driving force. But also, to our father, who has supported us in everything from the beginning and is always by our side unconditionally” say the brothers, visibly moved.
Ignacio is responsible for the kitchen and his brother Carlos is the sommelier and Maître D’, but behind them there is a great team that makes the magic happen every day. “Without our team we are nothing, and this is the result of everyone’s work; we feel supported by them, who have been with us through thick and thin along the way. This Star means a good dose of illusion for all of us“, say the brothers.
In 2010, Venta Moncalvillo received its first MICHELIN Star, making Daroca de Rioja, which at the time had only 50 inhabitants, the smallest village in the world with a restaurant with a MICHELIN Star. This new recognition by the Guide shows that La Rioja continues to reaffirm its position as the Spanish region with the most MICHELIN Stars per inhabitant. Just a year ago, another star landed in Daroca, in this case in the form of a MICHELIN Green Star, which was received with great enthusiasm since, as they themselves indicate, “it was a recognition of the work we have been doing for years towards sustainability because we were and still are convinced that this is the only way to be able to continue offering quality cuisine in the future, committed to our environment, to our local producers and to the planet”.
The restaurant that we know today as Venta Moncalvillo, has changed from the small restaurant that Carlos and Ignacio opened to build a future for themselves because it was clear to them that they did not want to leave their village as other young people did at that time. Throughout the more than 27 years that have passed since they started in Daroca de Rioja, the restaurant has been transformed to the rhythm of the personal and professional evolutions that the brothers have undergone. A few months ago, they finished a thorough refurbishment that they have been immersed in for two years, which has allowed them to create an optimal atmosphere for customers to enjoy the gastronomic proposal they offer. Nowadays, the main dining room blends in with the garden and the surroundings through large windows, allowing the customer to feel part of the landscape and reaffirming the luxury of immediacy that a motto of their project. But above all, it has allowed them to create a sustainable space that respects the environment and the planet, bringing them a little closer to having the restaurant of their dreams.
But for this renovation they have not only worked on the more visual aspects, but also energy efficiency and environmental sustainability now play a fundamental role in the restaurant. In terms of energy efficiency, photovoltaic panels have been installed to produce more than a third of the electricity consumed, and the air-conditioning system uses aerothermal energy. For the climate control of the existing areas and for hot water, fossil fuels have been eliminated and replaced by LPG gas and pellets. A charging point for electric and hybrid cars has been installed in the car park. To improve environmental management and be more efficient with natural resources, work has been carried out on systems to optimize water use and reduce the carbon footprint by avoiding the consumption of certain products that lead to a high carbon footprint. Work has been carried out on the classification and recycling of waste. All this work has been reflected in an exhaustive auditing process (through the AENOR certification agency), obtaining the “Efficient and Sustainable Kitchen Certificate”, and is now also endorsed by this MICHELIN Green Star that the brothers are so excited about.
Being sons of farmers and stockbreeders has marked them and is what undoubtedly determines the strong bond and commitment they have with their environment. As a result, they have always been very conscious of the importance of valuing the ingredients with which they work because they have always been aware of the effort and work that goes into every product that reaches their hands. The philosophy of Venta Moncalvillo is based on the origin of the products, as they are largely supplied from their own vegetable garden, located on the same farm and which they have been cultivating since 2010 in organic farming and since 2018 under the principles of biodynamics, with the only aids obtained naturally from animals and plants, thus avoiding the use of chemicals in their cultivation processes. They create their own compost and manage their own seed bank, with more than 250 seeds, which they plant year after year, and which provide their products with demonstrable quality and traceability.
Since the beginning, they have been loyal and consequent with their work philosophy and have kept their profound bond with their territory intact, positioning Venta Moncalvillo as one of the proposals with the most marked identity in the national and international gastronomic scene. A few weeks ago, they were included in the “We’re Smart Green Guide”, which identifies the best vegetable restaurants in the world.
Vegetables have a great presence in the entire gastronomic offer of Venta Moncalvillo, which since 2020 has a totally vegetarian menu, called “Leaves-Flowers”, made up of vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, and fruits. But vegetables and fruits are also the stars of his other menus, “Roots” and “Fruits” where the dishes feature products from Ignacio’s main pantry, which is the environment itself, mainly his own vegetable garden cultivated in an eco-friendly way.
“If you ask us about the key to our success, the only thing we can say is that there is none, our only secret is to work tirelessly and be honest with the public, who like to find the truth, and this is what we offer them”, says Ignacio. Fully aware that this recognition entails a great responsibility for them, Carlos tells us that ” we are not afraid, for us, the best way to achieve our goals is to demand the maximum every day, that is what we did yesterday and what we will do again tomorrow“.
In addition to the restaurant Venta Moncalvillo, they successfully run a line of catering business, Echapresto Eventos with personalized services in unique locations across La Rioja. Likewise, in 2021 they decided to start up again in their village, launching a meadery project with its own “cellar” called Moncalvillo Meadery.
They are also the creators of Cocinas de Pueblo, an event held twice to date, in 2019 and 2022, which focuses on making visible and giving value to the cuisine that is made in the small villages all over the world, work that they themselves do from their own home, which is now celebrating this second MICHELIN Star.
From now on, nothing will change at Venta Moncalvillo, the mission of the family and team will remain the same: to take care of every detail so that all those who come to their restaurant will enjoy a memorable experience in a unique environment where they will be guided on an exciting journey from the origin.