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Spanish Journeys – Best of Barcelona

Barcelona Culinary Tour: The Best of Catalan Art, Culture, and Cuisine

A delicious adventure in the city that has always been Spain’s most creative capital. Here, Miró’s art and Gaudí’s architecture still amaze. And so do Barcelona’s famous markets, gourmet shops, tapas bars, and restaurants. An itinerary that savors both tradition and innovation is the best way to get to know this culture-rich Mediterranean city.

The trip includes:

  • Three nights in a boutique hotel in the elegant downtown Eixample neighborhood (double occupancy);
  • Advance tickets to Gaudí’s most beautiful and beloved private commission as well as to the Picasso and Miró museums;
  • Thoughtfully guided walking tour of the Eixample district for an introduction to Gaudí’s architecture;
  • A walking tour of the Old City with a food-loving local guide, featuring the culinary highlights of Barcelona, its famous Boquería market and other top gourmet shops where you’ll taste cheeses, chocolates and other Catalan specialties;
  • Two tapas tours to explore both rustic and refined versions of Barcelona’s fabulous small plates and experience the city’s vibrant restaurant scene;
  • Delve into an authentic paella: either join a low-key cooking class or opt for a luxurious lunch on the beach, whichever you prefer;
  • Three breakfasts, one lunch and two dinners (lunch and dinners include selected wines), chosen to ensure you’ll sample the best of both traditional and innovative Catalan cuisine;
  • Personalized insider history, culture, and restaurant tips so you’ll truly enjoy your free time in Barcelona;
  • Private ground transportation on a tour encompassing Barcelona’s views from Parc Guëll and Montjuïc;
  • Gratuities at included restaurant meals.

Tour dates:
Available year-round upon request for parties of two or more.
Price:
$2275 per person, double occupancy.

More About This Program

With its outdoor cafés and wide strolling boulevards, Barcelona can seem the quintessential relaxed Mediterranean seaport. But the city’s high-energy soul shines through as you take in its eclecticism – from the famous abundance of the Boquería market to the spare art of a well-made tapa, from the curvaceous houses Gaudí designed to Miró’s quirky paintings, and from the elegant shops of the Eixample to the hip studios of the Ribera, this is one imagination-inspiring place.

A perfect short stay in Barcelona includes strolls through its emblematic markets and gourmet shops. This city’s purveyors fanatically curate superb collections of everything from cava, chocolates, and dried fruits to cheeses, acorn-fed Ibérico hams, and salt cod.

We’ll also take you on two real tapeos contrasting rustic and refined renditions of Barcelona’s best small plates. We’ll book those who want a hands-on experience in a cooking class that features the seafood paellas most beloved on the Catalan coast. (For those who’d rather kick back than cook, we’ll arrange a luxurious seafood lunch on the beach instead).

Art and architecture are the other not-to-be-missed ingredients in a perfect short stay here. You’ll take in the city’s Roman walls, medieval churches and mansions, and cobblestone squares as you stroll the Gothic Quarter. And you’ll learn about Gaudí’s iconoclastic masterpieces and how they shaped the Eixample in the company of an expert guide. A driving tour for views from Parc Guëll and overlooking the port from Montjuïc, where you’ll stop in at the Fundació Miró, points up the playful juxtaposition of tradition and innovation that define the city.

This is a luxurious three-night, four-day immersion in the best of Barcelona’s culture and cuisine. It includes lodging in a luxury 4-star hotel, tickets to Gaudí’s Casa Milà, plus the Miró and Picasso museums, expert guiding through Barcelona’s moderniste Eixample and Old City neighborhoods, with stops at markets, and good eats (and cooking) that provide a real introduction to Catalan cuisine. Plus a bit of free time armed with insider tips on enjoying more restaurants, delving into the city’s art collections, or browsing its stylish shops.

The trip price covers double occupancy accommodations, all the meals, touring, and transport as outlined.

(You will not need or want a car in Barcelona, so if this tour is part of a larger driving trip for you, we’ll recommend garages to park in for the duration.)

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Spanish Journeys – Granada & Cordoba

Food and Wine Vacation in Andalusia: Olive and Wine Country in Southern Spain

The expanse of olive groves stretching from Granada to Cordoba is astounding. And just outside Cordoba are vineyards that produce prized Pedro Ximenez grapes. Tasting great olive oils and solera-method wines in this unspoiled landscape is part of the magic of this trip. Ditto the Alhambra and the Mezquita, the patios and plazas, and the teahouses and tapas bars of these two quintessential Andalusian capitals.

The trip includes:

  • 6 nights in boutique hotels in the charming historic quarters of both Granada and Cordoba (double occupancy);
  • Advance tickets to the Alhambra palaces, fortress, and gardens;
  • Guided half-day walk through the Albaycín (Granada’s ancient Moorish quarter with its tea houses, open market, herbalists, and ceramics shops);
  • Tasting of fine olive oils, local artisanal cheeses, jamón ibérico and prized cured meats from the Sierra Nevada with the proprietor of Granada’s top gourmet shop;
  • Wine stroll and refined version of the classic tapeo with a sommelier in Granada;
  • Guided half-day walk through the hidden squares and flower-filled patios of Cordoba, plus entrance to the Mezquita (Cordoba’s stunning mosque-cathedral);
  • Two not-for-tourists tapeos featuring stops at neighborhood bars that reveal the best of casual local tapas of both Granada and Cordoba;
  • Near Granada: An excursion into the countryside for a hands-on cooking class in a private home amidst kitchen gardens and fruit trees;
  • Granada to Cordoba: A drive through the groves and whitewashed villages of olive country, with a stop at press to learn and taste;
  • Near Cordoba: Sample solera-method Montilla-Moriles wines in the region;
  • Ground transportation for the countryside cooking class; olive country drive from Granada to Cordoba; and the winery visit;
  • Six breakfasts, five lunches and three dinners (including selected wines and gratuities);
  • Personalized insider history, culture, and restaurant tips, so you can make the most of your free time.

Tour dates:
Available year-round upon request, except during Easter week.
Price:
$4595 per person, double occupancy.

More About This Program

Granada and Cordoba offer intriguing contrasts. Granada sparkles in its spectacular setting under the Sierra Nevada. Cordoba, the capital of Moorish Spain at its height, is moodier, with an air of lost grandeur that makes finding its hidden plazas and flower-filled patios a delight.

Here are Spain’s most important monuments from the time of the Moorish dynasties – the Mezquita or mosque, now a cathedral, in Cordoba and the Alhambra palaces and gardens in Granada – gems from a period of flourishing philosophical and scientific advances and strategic confluence of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures.

But here, too, are the low-key charms of Andalusia… starting with tapas – the best in Spain.

You’ll also have the chance to explore the region’s culinary depth beyond tapas, and we think you’ll be inspired – you’ll notice Arab and Sephardic influences, and the ingredients here are varied and superb: olives, nuts and fruit trees, meats cured in the high Sierra, avocadoes and tropical fruits from the coast, solera-method wines. You’ll learn about this still relatively undiscovered cuisine in a rustic regional cooking class in a private country home, an evening of tastings with the proprietor of the city’s top gourmet shop, and in visits to an olive press and a winery in the countryside between Granada and Cordoba.

A six-night, seven-day plan for getting to the heart of Andalusia. Boutique hotels, tickets to the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita in Cordoba, expert guiding through the Albaycín (Granada’s historic Moorish quarter) and historic Cordoba. Excellent tapas and a little cooking. Plus some free time for soaking up the spirit of the south, whether you do that in a hot tub at a hammam, a café in a flower-filled square, or browsing local shops for ceramics and guitars.

The trip price covers double occupancy accommodations, all the meals, touring and transport as outlined.

(You will not need or want car in Granada or Cordoba, so if this program is part of a larger driving trip, we’ll recommend garages to park in during your time in the cities, and can create a self-guided tour for the Granada-Cordoba route.)

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Spanish Journeys – Granada and the Alhambra

Granada Food and Wine Vacation: The Culture and Cuisine of Southern Spain

Granada is our favorite place to savor the intense light and lush courtyards of Southern Spain. The perfect stay in this dreamy city includes a visit to the Alhambra palace, of course. But there’s a lot to be learned in Granada’s teahouses, tapas bars, and kitchens, too, where varied influences of Andalusia’s ancient Roman, Sephardic, and Moorish past shine through.

The trip includes:

  • 3 nights in a boutique hotel in the historic center of town (double occupancy);
  • Advance tickets to the Alhambra palaces, fortress, and gardens;
  • Thoughtfully guided half-day walk through the Albaycín, Granada’s ancient Moorish quarter, including a bite at one of the city’s top Moroccan tea houses, and other stops according to your interests – the city market, an amazing herbalist, ceramics shops;
  • A tasting of fine olive oils, local artisanal cheeses, jamón ibérico and prized cured meats from the Sierra Nevada with the proprietor of Granada’s top gourmet shop;
  • A not-for-tourists tapeo featuring stops at local neighborhood favorites;
  • A wine stroll for more refined tastes and tapas with a local sommelier;
  • Excursion into the countryside for a hands-on cooking class in a private home amidst kitchen gardens, olive and fruit trees, and wild-gathered herbs;
  • Three breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners.
  • Personalized insider history, culture, and restaurant tips, so you can make the most of your free time;
  • Private ground transportation for your countryside cooking class excursion;
  • Gratuities at included restaurant meals.

Tour dates:
Available year-round upon request, except during Easter week, for parties of two or more.
Price:
$1995 per person, double occupancy.

More About This Program

Granada is the quintessential Andalusian city of bright sunshine and cool patios and squares dotted with orange trees. Of all Spain’s southern cities, its setting and place in history are most dramatic: the walls and gardens of the Alhambra, the lavish 13th century palace of Nasrid sultans, stand above the old town and Spain’s tallest peaks on the snowy Sierra Nevada make a stunning backdrop.

The city is charmingly low-key – people have to save their strength for their evening rounds of drinks and small plates: the tapas tradition is serious here, the best in Spain. We’ll take you on two real tapeos (rustic and refined) and introduce you to an inspiring culinary scene beyond tapas that is still relatively undiscovered.

Olive groves stretch for miles around Granada, and we’ve arranged a tasting of the region’s best. Meats cured in the Sierra are especially prized, and you’ll get to know why. Along the coast to the south avocados, chirimoyas, and other tropical fruits grow. Arab and Sephardic influences abound, so almonds, figs, and honey make their way into savory dishes as well as desserts. You’ll learn about this local abundance in a rustic regional cooking class in a private country home, at an artisan foods tasting at the city’s top gourmet shop, and on a wine stroll with a sommelier.

In all, a luxurious three night, four day plan for drinking in the very best of Granada, including lodging in a romantic 4-star villa hotel, tickets to the Alhambra, expert guiding through the Albaycín (the historic Moorish quarter) and into tapas territory and Andalusian cuisine. Plus a bit of free time armed with insider tips for more good eating, enjoying flower-filled patios, shopping for ceramics, checking out the local art scene, taking a photo safari in the Sacromonte, or hot-tubbing at a hammam.

The trip price covers double occupancy accommodations, all the meals, touring, and transport as outlined.

(You will not need or want car in Granada, so if this program is part of a larger driving trip, we’ll recommend garages to park in for the duration.)

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Spanish Journeys – A Cook’s Tour of Catalonia

Elephant Walk chef Gérard Lopez leads a Catalan cooking vacation with a side of culture

Savor Barcelona’s creative vibe, then venture to the countryside on a cooking vacation unlike any other—this one’s a true immersion in the food and culture of Catalonia. Learn about the locavore roots of Spain’s much-raved-about culinary revolution, as you taste your way from market to tapas bar and from villa to vineyard.

Chef/owner Gérard Lopez of Boston’s Elephant Walk restaurants will join us on this tour, exploring his own culinary roots and inviting you to experience Catalonia from a chef’s point of view: September 30 – October 9, 2010.

The trip includes:

  • 2 nights in a chic little downtown hotel in Barcelona;
  • 2 nights in a charming rustic rural farmhouse inn (and yes it does have private bathrooms);
  • 4 nights in a gorgeous villa dating to the 14th C and stylishly restored as a boutique hotel;
  • 2 hands-on cooking classes with local chefs in professional teaching kitchens — along with several other informal culinary learning experiences;
  • Guided strolls in Barcelona’s old city and famous Boquería market;
  • A Barcelona tapas tour;
  • A guided tour of historic Girona;
  • Tickets to Dalí’s quirky “casa-museu” — the 14th C. palace he restored for Gala;
  • Tickets to the 8th C. monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes high above Cadaqués;
  • A mushroom hunt in the garrotxa hills, with a local expert;
  • A traditional cookout at our villa owner’s private vineyard getaway;
  • A trip to the auction at a coastal village fishing port;
  • Visits with artisans including tastings of olive oils, artisanal cheeses and liqueurs;
  • A tour and tasting at a beautiful vineyard known for its biodynamic wines;
  • All breakfasts and dinners, and most lunches—a great mix of rustic and sophisticated meals, including a meal at Mas Les Cols, a Michelin 2* restaurant run by the sister of our farmhouse host. (We have made time for 2 lunches on your own, with suggestions on the best places);
  • Group transportation;
  • Gratuities at our restaurant meals.

Course fee: $4600, double occupancy; single supplement: $550

More info and sign-up

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Barcelona City Tours – Barcelona Walks Gourmet

On the Barcelona Walks Gourmet Tour, enjoy a flavour-filled journey in a guided tour through the old town and discover Barcelona‘s cuisine. During this walk you will find out about the history of Barcelona’s cuisine as well as some of its flagship restaurants and food outlets, to enjoy sampling some of their produce. Bon appetit!

  • Farm Viader
  • Market of La Boqueria
  • Confectionery Escriba
  • Cafe de le Opera
  • Petrixol street
  • Chocolateria Fargas
  • La Pineda
  • Les turronerias del carrer Cucurulla
  • Barcelona 600 years of gastronomy culture
  • Cafes el Magnifico
  • Tostaderos Casa Gispert
  • Botifarreria de Santa Maria
  • The wineries of La Ribera

Duration : ~2 h

Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 am

Departs from: Turisme de Barcelona information office. Pl. de Catalunya, 17.
You should be at the information office 10 minutes before the visit begins.

Ends at: La Ribera

Starting from: €19

Includes ireless tour guide system designed to aid communication between participants and the guide.

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Viatour – Gourmet French Food

There’s no need to consider calories when you combine gourmet French food with a three-hour morning walking tour! Your small Gourmet French Food Group tour is led by an expert food connoisseur, who will take you through a number of Paris neighborhoods to visit a French bakery, pastry shop, French caterer, wine shop, cheese shop, fruit and vegetable shop and market.

Your gourmet walking tour of Paris begins at a specialty cheese shop on Boulevard Saint-Germain on the Left Bank. Numbers on this gourmet walking tour are restricted to a maximum of eight, ensuring you’ll receive individual attention from your expert gastronomic guide. The number of stops you make could be expanded according to the seasonal availability of produce and your group’s preferences.

The commentary from your expert foodie guide includes an overview of French culinary habits, a description of any seasonal events taking place at the time of your tour and an introduction to selected specialties in the shops. Your guide will discuss how these specialties are produced, how to choose and store the produce, and how to prepare your own gourmet recipes. You are encouraged to interact with your guide and ask as many questions as you like.

Highlights

  • Morning walking tour to Paris’ finest gourmet shops
  • Gastronomic guide to answer all your questions and share your passion for food
  • Tastings of foie gras, wine, cheese, bread and a seasonal specialty
  • Smaller number of tour members ensures a more personalized experience
  • Illuminating commentary on Paris sights and history from your expert guide

Inclusions:

  • Tasting foie gras, wine, cheese and bread
  • Professional guide

Price: from $113.79

Tour departing at 9am with English speaking guide

Departure Point: Central Paris location

Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

Return details: Concludes at St Medard Church

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Viatour – Paris Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour

Combine your love of chocolate and cakes with your passion for Paris! The Paris Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour combines French gourmet specialties with an afternoon walking tour so you won’t need to feel too guilty. Numbers are limited to a maximum of 8 people on this small group tour, ensuring you’ll receive personalized attention from your guide. Your tour is led by an expert food connoisseur, who will take you through a number of Paris neighborhoods to visit at least three pastry shops, a bakery and three chocolate shops.

Your chocolate and pastry walking tour of Paris begins at La Maison du Chocolat – where could be better? Numbers on this tour are restricted to a maximum of eight, ensuring you’ll receive individual attention from your expert gastronomic guide. The number of stops you make could be expanded according to your group’s preferences.

The commentary from your expert foodie guide includes an overview of French culinary habits, a description of any seasonal events taking place at the time of your tour and an introduction to selected specialties in the main shops. Your guide will discuss how these specialties are produced, how to choose the best chocolates and pastries, and how to prepare your own treats. You are encouraged to interact with your guide and ask all the questions you like as you are introduced to the fine art of chocolate making and pastry baking.

Highlights

  • Afternoon walking tour to Paris’ fine pastry and chocolate shops
  • Chocolate and pastry tastings
  • Smaller number of tour members ensures a more personalized experience
  • Illuminating commentary on Paris sights and history from your expert guide

Inclusions:

  • Taste pastries, chocolates and a variety of breads
  • Walking tour (maximum 8 people)
  • Local guide

Price: from $113.79

Departure Point:  Central Paris location

Departure Time: 2:00pm, except Saturday at 1:00pm

Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

Return details: Concludes at Boulevard St Germain near Cluny la Sorbonne station

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Belly of Paris — A Culinary Walking Seminar

In his 1873 novel Le Ventre de Paris (The Belly of Paris), Emile Zola immortalized Les Halles, Paris’s central food market from the 12th century until the late 1960s, as both the literal and figurative stomach of a burgeoning metropolis. Although the shimmering glass and metal buildings described by Zola no longer exist, we will explore surviving vestiges of the culinary landscape he described. Visiting specialty food shops for some of the best tastes Paris has to offer we will also extend Zola’s metaphor to contemporary Paris and explore the connections between food and culture in the city today.
Led by cultural historian Carolin Young whose last book, Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver investigated twelve of the greatest feasts in Western history, this walk begins at the Bourse du Commerce, the old commodities exchange, and, prior to that, the wheat market. We will pass the ancient church of Saint-Eustache, built largely with donations given by those who made their fortunes at Les Halles. As we walk, the history of the lost market and Zola’s Belly of Paris will be summarized.

On the newly revitalized rue Montmartre, we will visit several of Paris’s premier kitchenware and pastry-making suppliers, discussing the organization of the classic French kitchen and its role in the local culture. We will stop at old-world shops specializing in foie gras and truffles, visit a bulk spice shop, and pay our respects to one of the city’s premier boulanger/pâtisserie which recently won first prizes for the best butter croissant and galette aux amandes in France.

At a shop selling delicacies from the gastronomically renowned region of Auvergne we will address the importance of terroir. Perusing artisan boulangers, cheese shops, butchers, and fishmongers, we will explore the history of the elite guilds and associations that, since Medieval times and still today, strictly regulate food quality and production in the city. We will stop for a coffee or drink at the nineteenth-century restaurant Au Rocher de Cancale.

Amidst the evocative remnants of its painted walls, Young will recount the dining adventures of its notable patrons, who included Stendhal, Balzac and the Goncourt brothers. Certainly, we’ll save our appetites for a visit to the oldest surviving patisserie in Paris, founded in 1730, which claims to have invented puits d’amour and babas’ and whose late-19th-century décor is as just as sugary. We will also pass a favorite haunt of Marcel Proust, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Jacqueline Kennedy. To conclude, we will visit an organic grocery store, a Middle-Eastern spice shop, and artisanal chocolate producer that reflect contemporary trends in Parisian gastronomy.

Key Information:
Group Size:
3 – 6 people
Season: January – December
Languages: English, French
Minimum Cost: 75 Euro (EUR) Per person
Maximum Cost: 75 Euro (EUR) Per person
Length: 3 hour itinerary

More information: InfoHub

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