Spain - Culinary Travel Overview
The strong, seductive flavors of Spain, rich, red pimento, saffron, cumin, its prized jamon iberico and jamon serrano, fine wines growing exponentially in reputation and a cuisine that has evolved from its fascinating history and culture, draws the culinarily curious from around the world.
Sherry is Spain’s classic wine; there is beautiful collection of rosés and Cava, the country’s equivalent of Champagne is made with exacting standards. However Spain is best known for its red wines especially those of the famed vineyards of La Rioja.
The options to taste and learn are as numerous as the offerings of its tapas menus and pintxos bars. Spain has been doing small plates for centuries and the custom of strolling from bar to bar enjoying these “bites” with a glass of wine is as integral as the siesta to many Spaniards. It’s also a delightful way to explore the flavor of cities like Spain’s capital Madrid, the sensuous Seville and Basque Country’s San Sebastián, considered by many to be Spain’s culinary capital and renowned for its pintxos.
Situated in northern Spain on the French border, Basque Country has its own language, culture (one of Europe’s oldest) distinctive cuisine and a growing buzz amongst foodies. They come to enjoy roast meats (asadores), fisherman’s stew, little cuttlefish and the amazing Idiazabal cheese. The region also boasts an array of Michelein-starred Restaurants but the highlight for many is the tradition of dining on the regional dishes in rustic farmhouses when the cider producers open their doors (mid-January to late April). The season’s cider harvest is savored right from the barrels. A visit to the elegant city of San Sebastian provide an opportunity to learn more about Basque Country Cuisine with a private hands-on cooking lesson at a Gastronomic Society, a unique cooking club.
The cosmopolitan and quirky port city of Barcelona is visually gorgeous and Mediterranean in climate and vibe. It leverages its location well with beautifully prepared fresh fish and seafood. Barcelona boasts one of Europe’s most vibrant markets, La Boqueria. A chef-led market tour followed by a cooking lesson and lunch would be a wonderful way to spend a day in Barcelona.
Traveling through Andalusia, the largest of Spain’s autonomous communities, provides the opportunity to visit the provinces of Grenada, Seville, Malaga and Cadiz, and the dazzling White Towns. This region was the heart of Moorish civilization for over 700 years and the culture and cuisine still bears that imprint. Olive oil, treasured throughout Spain, is revered here, as the people of Andalusia are masters of frying. Specialties include cold soups and it’s the birthplace of gazpacho.
Andalusia’s gorgeous capital Seville is quintessential Spain and treats visitors to Moorish influenced architecture, a fascinating history and a distinctive cuisine. Add flamenco dancers, exuberant tapas bars and amazing Spanish wines for even more reasons to go. North, in the heart of Basque Country, world renowned for its food, the stunning coastal city of San Sebastian is considered Spain’s culinary capital. Vibrant markets with stalls filled with glistening fish, its famed Ibérico ham and the Gastronomic Societies draw foodies from around the world. They come for the treasure trove of Michelin-starred restaurants, bodegas and the delightful custom of pintxos-bar hopping. Pintxos is the Basque interpretation of tapas and will enable you to experience the local life and culture while feasting on these mouth-watering morsels These two cities pair beautifully in a 7-day package that includes 4-star hotels, private guides, touring, transfers, internal air flights and wonderful food, wine and edible experiences. Add a day in the port-city of Bilbao and visit the spectacular Guggenheim Museum.
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