Uncover the gastronomic & cultural delights of the Basque country.* *
Home to nearly thirty Michelin-starred restaurants and where people spend most of their disposable income on food, it comes as no surprise that Spain, and in particular the Basque region, represents one of the best destinations for a foodie trip. Due to its distinctive geographic and cultural landscape, the mix of sea and mountain cultures offers an incredible food range. Our comprehensive food journey starts in Bilbao when we will visit the famous markets and have a cookery class with a chef from a Michelin-recommended restaurant. We will then head to pilgrimage city of Logroño and sample the excellent pintxos (Basque-style tapas) on offer, before exploring a vineyard in Rioja to learn more about the wine-making tradition of this region. In the Basque capital of San Sebastián, we will enjoy some of the city's best pintxos then end the trip with a unique culinary experience, dining at an exclusive gastronomy society.
All breakfasts, 1 appetiser, 2 lunches and 3 dinners are included. Lunch on day 2 will be a cookery class with a chef from a Michelin-recommended restaurant. Other gastronomic experiences that are included in the itinerary: * Dinner at a well-known restaurant in Bilbao * Pintxos lunch in Logroño and pintxos dinner in San Sebastián * Wine tasting and appetisers in the Rioja region * Dinner at a private dining club in San Sebastián Please note that during the pintxos bar visits, the tour leader will order pintxos for the group, averaging 4 small dishes per person. 1 drink will be included in the first bar. The Basque Country has now become the most important tourist destination in Spain in relation to food. Being a coastal and border region allows for its local dishes to be a mixture of sea and mountain cultures with modern top-quality cooking. This trend emerged over the last decades with the appearance of the so-called Basque Nouvelle Cuisine. The good food is the centre of any social occasion and is a reflection of the character of the Basque people, a people devoted to tradition and cooking. Please note meal times in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00hrs and 21.30hrs. *GLOSSARY* The Basque country had its own language called Euskara which is one of the most unusual and difficult languages in the world. *A few useful words for your food adventure:* *Zurito - a tiny beer * *Txotx - toothpick (pronounced chotch) * While this word literally means toothpick, it is also said when you tip the cider out of the barrel to announce to everyone that the barrel is open and they should fill their glasses. *Pintxos – Basque-style tapas (pronounced peen-chos) * While this word literally means toothpick food, it is the Basque word for tapas. the main difference between pintxos and tapas is that pintxos uses toothpicks to avoid the food top from falling off the bread-slice bottom. *Txakoli - Basque sparkling wine (pronounced chakoli) * *Poteo *or *txikiteo (pronounced chikiteo)* The Basque tradition of moving from one pintxos bar to another, enjoying different dishes at each bar.
The trip starts in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao, after arriving from London on the group flight. After check-in, we will have some free time to relax until the welcome meeting. Have your insurance and next of kin details on hand as the leader will be collecting them at this meeting. In the evening we will have a welcome dinner at a traditional restaurant in Bilbao, one of the most renowned foodie cities in Spain due to the vast choice of products, both from the sea and the surrounding countryside. *Hotel Sercotel Arenal or similar*
To start our unforgettable food adventure, we will visit Bilbao's famous Mercado de La Ribera (located by the river), as well as the classic cod shops (bacaladerías) where bacalao (dried cod) and Iberico ham are sold. We will be accompanied by a culinary guide who will provide explanations and insights about local products and customs before taking us to the cooking venue. At the restaurant, we’ll be welcomed by the chef who will share with us the secrets of becoming a master in the kitchen. Put on your apron and learn how to create your own delicious meal! We'll enjoy our lunch with expertly paired wines. The remainder of the day will be free to explore Bilbao at your own pace. We recommend a visit to the Guggenheim Museum; designed by the architect Frank Gehry, it is an architectural masterpiece not to be missed. Please check opening times here: https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/hours-and-admission/ . */Please">https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/hours-and-admission/">https://www.g... note: /*/cookery classes are usually given by Paul Ibarra, who trained under Fernando Canales, chef at Michelin star restaurant Etxanobe. Paul Ibarra is currently chef at Los Fueros, which is recommended by the Michelin Guide. The cookery class takes place upstairs and there is no lift access./ *Hotel Sercotel Arenal or similar*
This morning we travel by private minibus to the town of Logroño (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes), situated in the famous wine region of Rioja. The town sits on the banks of the Ebro River and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. The city is rich in history and traditions, preserved since the Middle Ages. It also boasts one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the country, home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre. After checking in at our accommodation, we will get the chance to stroll through the streets of this favourite stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela. Logroño is a handsome city of medieval fortifications, where much work is being done to restore it to its former glory. In the evening we will head out to sample some of the best pintxos (Basque-style tapas) that Logroño has to offer. The sheer concentration of pintxos bars in the old town has led to intense competition and incredibly high standards. *Hotel F&G Logroñ**o or similar*
This morning we will experience what it is like to be a winegrower as we participate in an ancient tradition. With the guidance of a professional we’ll have the chance to carry out different activities in the vineyards and winery, as well as acquire an in-depth knowledge of all the stages associated with producing a good Rioja wine and conduct experiments to understand the wine fermentation processes. After working in the vineyard, we will enjoy an appetiser of pâté, chorizo, cheese and bread, all locally sourced. In the winery we’ll have the chance to taste some of the wines straight out of the barrels to observe their evolution during the ageing process and determine the one we like best. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town. *Hotel F&G Logroño or similar*
Travel by private vehicle to the city of San Sebastián, jewel of the Basque country and a city obsessed with food. With its family-friendly beaches and vibrant old city, San Sebastián is a fantastic place to stroll along the promenade, shop, or just to soak up the sun. With your guide, visit some of the city's excellent pintxos bars and indulge in some of San Sebastián's most delicious tapas-style dishes. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore at leisure. For one of the best photos of San Sebastián, take the funicular up Monte Igueldo. This evening, we recommend you to have a special dining experience at one of the renowned Michelin star restaurants in the city. *Sercotel Hotel Europa or similar*
Enjoy a day at leisure until the late afternoon when we will meet for a farewell dinner. The place chosen is a very traditional place known as a Sociedad Gastronómica. Not fancy, nor particularly refined, it is a members-only private dining club (traditionally owned by men) where locals used to meet their friends and family to cook together, eat, drink and talk. Basque society is very female-oriented; a husband brought home his pay and handed it directly to his wife, who controls the household. Basque men felt they needed a place to congregate and play ‘king of the castle’ so they founded these clubs where members could reserve a table and cook with friends. The clubs used to be exclusively male, but that has changed now. Women can come along, but they are not allowed in the kitchen. With your Tour Leader, visit a Sociedad Gastronómica for an evening immersed in Basque food and culture. Our host will be a member of the society, who will be in charge of cooking for us, so we can focus on sitting back and enjoying the culinary delights that will be served. *Sercotel Hotel Europa or similar*
Transfer to Bilbao after breakfast; fly to London.
* All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners * All accommodation * Transfers for group flights
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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