I love travelling abroad because I enjoy eating different foods……and seeing the way food is grown in other countries. At the same time, did you know that food and culinary adventure trips are now offered for people who are interested primarily in that aspect?
Yes- travelling on a cycling trip through the countryside of Vietnam will mean you will see fields of food being grown, and eating local dishes in small family run restaurants- and often on cultural/ historical tours, cooking classes are included (i.e. how to make a mean marsala chai), but there are other small group tours that food is the primary focus. Over the next week, I am going to explore a variety of these trips, along with a couple of trips where food or wine is an important part of the tour- i.e. cycling through the vineyards of South Africa.
Real Food Adventure – Northern Spain
Uncover the local delicacies and the local character of Northern Spain
Explore the sights, sounds and tastes of northern Spain on this food-led adventure. Immerse yourself in culture, history and cuisine as you taste local produce at Santa Catarina Market, whip up Catalan specialties in a cooking class and wander the stunning Gothic Quarter. Enjoy the wealth of tapas bars in Logrono, explore the medieval streets and underground wine caves of Laguardia. Venture north to one of Spain’s most celebrated cities, San Sebastian, where beautiful beaches, historic buildings and a thriving food and arts scene bask together under a beaming sun. Experience a traditional Asturian sidreria (cider house) near Oviedo, attend a centuries’ old farmers market near the Picos de Europa National Park and devour fresh seafood on the coast in Galicia. End your gastronomic pilgrimage in the holy city of Santiago de Compostela.
Let this Real Food Adventure take you through the cultural and culinary heart of Spain and taste all the flavours of this exceptional region.
- Whip up some Catalan specialties in a spirited cooking class
- Sample the renowned tapas of Logrono
- Savour a glass of famous Riojan wine
- Taste local Basque specialties of taxkoli wine and idiazabal cheese
- Fill up on hearty Spanish stew in the Picos de Europa mountains
- Uncover the art of cheese making in the caves of Arenas de Cabrales
This trip is priced from $2970 plus flight, and is offered by Intrepid Travel. Included are 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, 9 nights in 3* hotels, and various means of transportation- public bus, taxi, train, and van. Maximum number of travellers is 12! Contact me for more details. Here is a small description of this wonderful culinary adventure……
Day 1 Barcelona- Celebrate the start of your Real Food Adventure by diving straight into the rhythm of Barcelona; sip a locally produced cava in a bars or bodegas. The heart of Catalonia prides itself as a gastronomic centre and you’ll taste the reputation for yourself on a tapas crawl through rustic Catalan dishes. Try traditional satisfying bites likes croquettes, fresh anchovy fillets lightly pickled in vinegar with salt and garlic or chargrilled aubergines with peppers and onions.
Day 2 Barcelona-This morning, get ready for a truly authentic introduction to Catalan cuisine with a passionate Barcelona foodie and respected chef. Catalan cuisine is strongly based in the Mediterranean tradition, featuring fresh ingredients such as tomato, eggplant, garlic, capsicum as well as breads and olive oil, much of which is produced from the surrounding countryside. Intensely flavoured fish including sardines, anchovy and salted cod and a myriad of pork products are also celebrated within Catalan food culture…….
Day 3 Logrono- Ride the rails east to the prized vineyards of La Rioja wine region and Logrono (approximately 3.5 hours). The town sits on the banks of the Ebro river and is the capital of Spain’s most renowned wine region. It also boast one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in the county, is home to some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Spain, all crammed into its small medieval centre…….
Day 4 San Sebastian-This morning you’ll stop past the Logrono market and select some provisions, all grown or made within a few kilometres of town, for a picnic lunch. Then take a local bus (approximately 30 minutes) and go back in time in the historic walled town of Laguardia, perched atop a rock foundation. This is one of the most perfectly preserved medieval villages in Spain, surrounded by an ancient wall that has great views out over La Rioja to the mountains. The entire centre of Laguardia is traffic free as underground lies a maze of tunnels and caves. They were originally constructed for defence before the town was built, but now used to make and store wine for centuries…..catch a bus (approximately 2 hours) to the stunning seaside San Sebastian, jewel of the Basque country and a city obsessed with food.
Day 5 San Sebastian-One of the secrets to the success of San Sebastian’s food is that it’s always been based around high quality, local ingredients in season. When you start with excellent raw materials, the results are always better. The best way to experience this first-hand it to visit the traditional food markets of La Bretxa or San Martin, and you’ll do just that this morning as you collect ingredients for a masterclass in Basque cuisine. In this hands-on cooking class you’ll learn how to prepare some of the signature dishes of the region, and you’ll also taste iconic Basque products including idiazabal, a smoked local Basque cheese, and txacoli wine…..
Day 6 Picos de Europa-Continue east to Bilbao (approximately 1 hour), a city that was revitalised by the arrival of the Guggenheim. Spend some free time visiting Frank Gehry’s iconic sweeping metal building and the artistic treasures housed inside and out. The skyline here has changed rapidly since the arrival of the museum, this industrial city now boasting over 40 landmarks for architecture and design enthusiasts. After lunch, climb by bus (approximately 3 hours) up to the Picos de Europa National Park. The park is not what many people picture as Spain; it’s an Alpine landscape, high, cool, lush and green, with forests, deep gorges through the cliffs, and grassland dotted with photogenic toffee-coloured cows…..
Day 7 Oviedo-This morning take a short trip to the beautiful small mountain town of Potes, nestled in the Picos de Europa National Park in the Cantabria province. Bordered by stunning ancient monasteries, Potes is brimming with centuries of history, and is a quaint tapestry of bridges, narrow winding streets and splendid old houses. You will arrive in time to experience the wonderful weekly food market. With some documents dating the market back to 1291, this is considered one of the oldest markets in Spain. Enjoy a market brunch of Cantabrian products purchased from the stallholders……
Day 8 Oviedo-Take a guide walk around the handsome city of Oviedo, with its unique personality, quaint pre-Romanesque churches, elegant streetscapes, fine monuments and grand houses built by those who sailed to the New World and returned wonderfully rich. At the heart of the town sits the impressive Gothic San Salvador Cathedral, built between the 14th and 16th centuries and home to an staggeringly elaborate altarpiece. You’ll also enjoy an introduction to wonderful local products of Asturia at El Fontan market, home to excellent fish stalls beneath a canopy of wrought-iron and glass. This afternoon is free for your own exploration…..
Day 9 Santiago de Compostela-This morning, take a bus to A Coruna in the region of Galicia (approximately 3.5 hours), taking in some of the spectacular Galician coastline. A Coruna is an important port city. Here you will visit the impressive fish market in the Praza de Lugo, learning about the Galician mussel industry from a local seafood expert. You’ll then lunch on delicious fresh mussels at a nearby café (there will be alternate meals available for non-seafood eaters). Then, like thousands of pilgrims before you, end your journey in the capital of Galicia and, for the faithful, the final resting place of the apostle St James (approximately 30 minutes)……
Day 10 Santiago de Compostela-You will finish this Northern Spain adventure on a gastronomic high with a morning tasting tour around some of the city’s best foodie gems, including the celebrated Mercado de Abastos. Toast the end of the trip with a glass of wine. The Real Food Adventure Northern Spain will conclude at midday……