Culinary Journey to La Rioja & Basque Country, Spain
$5500 US pp** | October 9-15, 2017
Tapas, flamenco, 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 the Basque country, which boasts the best wines and unbelievably delicious tapas. On this culinary journey, you will be astounded by endless vineyards, gorgeous countryside, hilltop villages and vibrant lifestyle that make this destination a real favorite of mine.
My friends and restaurateurs, Ignacio, Angel and Mariangeles, grew up in La Rioja and they'll be the perfect guides- sharing their favorite places and 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, and do 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 maticulously 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. Or if you've been before and you love Spain like I do, come with me to La Rioja! I promise you an unforgettable experience.
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Spain Cooking Classes
The Ebro, flowing from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean south of Barcelona, is one of Spain’s most important 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. Prepare to be inspired by the incredible quality of ingredients we'll have at our fingertips!
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' completely 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 now 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. This is why each of the 12 room has a different decoration following a common theme: cinema, theatre, literature and music. Our hosts, Laura and José make you feel at home, thanks to their impeccable service and endearing charm.
In addition to all of the modern amenities, including free Wi-Fi and incredible breakfasts, the hotel is in the perfect position to take full advantage of Haro, the center of wine production for La Rioja as well as easy access to Sebastián.
Spain 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.
You’ll get to know my best Spanish friends, Ignacio, 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, 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 the the word! You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.
Spain 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, an extraordinary museum designed by Frank Gehry. 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 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. We 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.