Culinary Journey to La Rioja, Spain
October 2014 | SOLD OUT!
I have been to Spain many times but the last time I was there I truly fell in love. Was it the flamenco, the tapas, the cava, maybe the spirit of the people? Spain resonates for me especially the Rioja region which boasts the best wines and unbelievable tapas.On our trip I will introduce two of my best friends, Angel and Maryann, who live in this part of Spain and own the top Rioja restaurants. It all starts out at Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao where I love to stay the night previous to the trip. I always make sure I visit the Guggenheim which you can almost touch from your room at the Hotel Domine. My friends were born and brought up in La Rioja and since they are in the restaurant business and everyone passes through their restaurant, they know everyone, all the best places to eat and of course the best wines to drink.
If you've never been to Spain, let me, Angel and Maryann change your life. Or if you've been before and you love Spain like I do, come with me! Let me, Angel and Maryann show you our Spain! I promise your life will never be the same.
International Cooking Classes
Our week will include hands-on cooking classes at my friend's fantastic restaurant where I will teach you some of my favorite Spanish recipes such as Gazpacho Andaluz, Fideus Pasta with Garlic Prawns and Allioli, Chicken Escabechado, Albondigas or Tiny Spiced Meatballs with Tomatoes, a Traditional Paella with Chicken, Shellfish and Chorizo, Patatas Bravas with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Chorizo and Cheese Puffs, Autumn Apple Flan, Citrus and Cinnamon Crema Catalana, and of course, a seasonal Sangria, just to name a few!
Our home for the week is the beautiful Hospedería Señorío de Casalarreina in the town of Casalarreina. Situated in the eastern part of the Rioja, Hospedería Señorío de Casalarreina is a completely restored monastery in the heart of the Rioja region that dates back to 1711. In addition to all of the modern amenities, including free wi-fi, the hotel maintains its original decorative elements including 'trampantojos' - wonderful mural paintings on doors and on the walls. The village of Casalarreina is in a wonderful position to take full advantage of Haro, the center of wine production for La Rioja as well as easy access to San Sebastian.
Excursions during the week will include a tour of Laguardia, a walled medieval city and the gateway to experiencing La Rioja wine region, a visit to Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco, a winery estate boasting the most extraordinary wine museum in the world. It holds thousands of wine artifacts both new and old, and a collection of 6000 corkscrews. We will also spend a day in the seaside town of San Sebastián in the Basque Country, visit an extraordinary olive oil producer for a trip of a lifetime, visit numerous wineries and wine bars and even enjoy a little tapas hopping! And typical to the Spanish zest for life, the last evening's celebration is not to be believed. I can't breathe another word!
Group meeting point in Bilbao for pick-up and drop-off is: Gran Hotel Domine located across the street from the Guggenheim Museum. Pick-up time is late afternoon on October 21 and drop-off is on the morning of October 27.