Culinary Tour to La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
Tapas, flamenco, cava, breathtaking landscapes, and incredibly welcoming people, Spain has it all! I love every facet of Spain, but the one region that is most near and dear to my heart is the incredible wine region, Rioja. Situated in north-central Spain, just south of Bilbao and the coastal resort town of San Sebastian, Rioja and the neighboring Basque country are still a relatively undiscovered but up-and-coming travel destination and most certainly, my favorite!
Rioja's stunning beauty, rich Spanish culture and delicious food and wine.
It's the perfect place for those of us wanting to immerse ourselves in Spanish culture in a stunningly beautiful agricultural region. Plus, La Rioja region and Basque country have some the best wines and unbelievably delicious tapas.
We'll explore the fascinating city of San Sebastián in the Basque Country, a tour with an extraordinary olive oil producer, and enjoy private tastings at world-class wineries featuring extraordinary Tempranillo and Albarino wines like Roda and Muga, and of course, we'll cook up a storm!
We'll stay in a beautifully restored noble house, in the heart of La Rioja Alta in northern Spain, just south of Bilbao and 10 minutes from Haro where you will find El Barrio de la Estación (the golden mile of the Rioja Wine). This charming hotel, with unique and meticulously appointed rooms, will be the perfect place for us to take in the Spanish lifestyle and unwind at the end of each day!
If you've never been to Spain, this trip might just change your life. And if you've been before and you love Spain as much as I do, come with me to La Rioja!
** Price based on double occupancy. Limited availability for sIngle occupancy rooms. Single supplement charge of $1500.00US applies for solo travelers. Airfare not included. Deposit of $2000.00US per person required to secure a spot. See tour terms here.
Prepare to be inspired by the incredible quality of ingredients we'll have at our fingertips! The Ebro, flowing from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean south of Barcelona, is one of Spain's most famous rivers, accounting for the region's legendary fertility, which explains the wine and peppers and many other remarkable fruits and vegetables—asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, cauliflower, and more. Oh, and wait until you taste the Jamón Serrano and Ibérico.
Our week will include hands-on cooking classes in the kitchen of my friend's local restaurant, where I will teach you some of my favorite Spanish recipes. Imagine succulent 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! And we simply must make some fluffy churros to dip into warm chocolate.
We'll stay at my dear friends' beautifully restored 17th century boutique hotel, the Hospedería Teatrisso, situated in the small medieval village of Cuzcurrita-Río Tirón in the La Rioja Region and surrounded by the best wine cellars of Europe.
This noble house was built in the 17th century and has been lovingly renovated into a stunning hotel. During the 20's and 30's black and white films were projected on the walls of the salon and villagers frequently stopped by for theatre plays and ballroom dancing. Each of the 12 rooms has a different decoration following a common theme: cinema, theatre, literature and music. Our hosts, Laura and José, make everyone feel at home, thanks to their impeccable service and endearing charm.
In addition to all of the modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and delicious, homemade breakfasts, the hotel is ideally situated to take full advantage of Haro, the center of wine production for La Rioja as well as easy access to San Sebastián.
My friends and restaurateurs, Angel, Mariangeles and Ignacio, grew up in La Rioja and own the top La Rioja restaurant. They'll be the perfect guides- sharing their favorite places with extra special surprises along the way!
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 extensive 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, taste at some of my favorite wineries and wine bars, and even enjoy a little tapas-hopping. Typical to the Spanish zest for life, our last evening's celebration will be over-the-top, so all I can say is, rest up!
Group meeting point in Bilbao for pick-up is: Gran Hotel Domine located across the street from the Guggenheim Museum, an extraordinary museum designed by Frank Gehry. Drop-off location is Bilbao Airport. 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, we highly recommend flying in early and spending an addtional night or more in Bilboa before our journey together. I always make sure I visit the Guggenheim which you can almost touch from your room at the Hotel Domine. We can also give you a list of a few unique places to eat in Bilbao.
A non-refundable deposit of $2000.00 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.