Culinary Journey to La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain

  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
  • La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain

$5500 US pp** | October 9-15, 2017 | Registration opens soon!

Flamenco, tapas, cava, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant and incredibly hospitable people, Spain has it all!  And the area so near and dear to my heart is La Rioja region and Basque country, which boasts the best wines and unbelievably delicious tapas. On this culinary journey, you will be astounded by gorgeous countryside, rich culture and vibrant lifestyle that make this destination a real favorite of mine.

My friends and restaurateurs, Angel and Mariangeles, grew up in La Rioja and we’ll spend the week with them as our guides as they share their favorite places along with some very special surprises along the way. We'll take excursions to the amazing city of San Sebastián in the Basque Country, visit an extraordinary olive oil producer, taste world-class tempranillo and albarino wines at private not-open-to-the-public world class wineries and of course, we'll cook up a storm!

If you've never been to Spain, let me, Angel and Mariangeles change your life. Or if you've been before and you love Spain like I do, come with me! 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. Imagine lamb chops grilled over the open fire, patatas bravas with spicy tomato sauce and creamy allioli and shellfish and chorizo paella cooked outside over an open flame just like the Spanish do.


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.

Day Trips

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.   I'll introduce two of my best friends, Angel and Maryann, who live in this part of Spain and own the top La Rioja restaurants.  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. For now, mum is th the word!  You’ll just have to experience it for yourself. 

Trip Details

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 the first day of the tour and drop-off is on the morning of the final day of the tour.

Since we are meeting at Gran Hotel Domine in Bilbao, I highly recommend flying in early and spending a the night there prior to our journey together. I always make sure I visit the Guggenheim which you can almost touch from your room at the Hotel Domine. I can also give you a list of a few special places to eat in Bilbao.

A non-refundable deposit of $1500.00 US per person is required to register for this journey.  See the Terms and Conditions above for details. Single supplement charge applies for solo travelers. Accommodations, cooking classes, excursions and day trips, wine and tastings and meals (with the exclusion of one or two) are included. Airfare is not included in the package price. FInal payments are to be made by personal check or money order.

"Our expectations were very high for this journey and they were vastly exceeded in every way. From the cuisine to the Provencal landscapes, to the company of our fellow students..."

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