8-Day Tour Basque food & wine culture (with 5-Day master-class with Chef Aingeru Etxebarria). Visit to Rioja wineries, sightseeing in Vittoria Gasteiz and Bilbao, San Sebastian,Castro Urdiales. Michelin starred restaurants dining.

Join us on this enogastronomic tour and learn how to enjoy not only beach holidays and sightseeing, but dive into geddonist pleasure of the basque culinary tradition, This tour combines traveling over the beautiful Basque Country and excitement over the most delicious Spanish dishes born in the basque lands. In the Basque Country the biggest number of Michelin starred restaurants are located. In 2014. Vitoria-Gasteiz was nominated the Gastronomic capital of Spain. You will take part in the culinary workshop led by our Master Chef Aingeru Etxebarria, taste the prepared delicacies accompanied by the best wines of the region.

 

 

Day 1

Arrival to the airport of Bilbao (BIO). Transfer to the hotel in the center of Bilbao. Accomodation 4**** or 5****. Orientation with the travel director/accompanying guide.

Optional in the afternoon:

–El Rincon Del Vino: visit to the vinoteca with the sommelier-led winetasting with the intro to the Spanish DO, or Rioja DO wines.

–pintxo-tour(as dining option) around the center of Bilbao with the visit to Alhondiga Bilbao—city cultural center, rebuilt from the old wine and olive oil storage, offering permanent activities, such as exhibitions, art shows, live arts performances and etc. The beauty and the history of the Alhondiga building itself is a nice start to get acquinted to Bilbao.

 

Day 2

 

Breakfast at the hotel.

3-hours morning session with our Master Chef Aingeru Etxebarria, who will lead us to the biggest in Europe food market La Ribera. The Chef will lead through the market stalls and will teach us to choose correctly the raw meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, the most-fresh fish and seafood.
Following the visit to the market, we will lunch at the typical bar in the Old Town (Casco Viejo).

After it, we will move to the historic part of Bilbao for a walking sightseeing tour. You will visit Casco Viejo–the old town–with its narrow streets, plazas, beautiful churches and the 2 cathedrals. Then we will follow the Gran Via boulevard in La Ensancha community connecting the old quarters with the new modern and architecturally avant-guardist parts of the city.  You will see the Guggenheim Museum of the Modern Art, the work of the famous architect Franck O.Gehry, the signature and the symbol of the modern Bilbao.
Free time in Bilbao.

Day 3

 

Breakfast at the hotel.
Today is our first culinary workshop with the Chef Aingeru Etxebarria. We will learn the secrets of Arroz Meloso con langoustines cooking. Following the kitchen work we will follow to the dining room to taste the cooked delicacies accompanied by the fine wine–the pride of the Basque people–Txakoli Señorio de Astobiza.  This young and still “green” wine with a fruity and mineral nose serves beautifully the seafood dishes
In the afternoon we will travel to Castro Urdiales, one of the picturesque fishing towns of Cantabria.  Castro Urdiales exists since ancient times, and was founded by the vicars of the Roman Emperor.  The town has preserved the ancient port with its beautiful pre-medieval architecture, and the Fortress of St. Anna,located on the hill, overlooking the ocean.  The fact that Castro Urdiales administratively belongs to the province of Cantabria, doesn’t stop the Basques to chose it as their beloved vacation residence.  The pintxos—local style canapés sandwiches and appetizers—are served here in a basque manner, but with a touch of local color. We will lead you through the different pintxo-bars of the town on a pintxo-tour.  We offer you the pure enjoyment of the authentic northern Spanish gastronomy.

Return to the hotel in Bilbao.

 

Day 4

 

The second culinary session at the Culinary School is dedicated to the peculiarities of the traditional basque cooking. G uided by our Chef we will cook the basque veal with piquillo peppers garnished with potato, tempura “tierra y mar”+ basque fried calamares aka “rabas”.  This time our lunch will be complemented by Sonsierra Crianza Tinto Rioja wine (Rioja DO)
Following the lunch we will be heading to the capital of the Basque Country–Vitoria Gasteiz.Victor Hugo called it “ideal gothic town” in his novel.  The modern Vitoria is, first of all, unique alliance of the past and the tradition, the scenic landscape and the urban architecture.  We will tour the old town, the witness of the centuries, learn about the personalities who used to live there.  We will dine at one of the best restaurants of the Gastronomic capital of Spain of 2014—El Portalón. The exquisite cooking and the history of the place itself will never leave you indifferent.
 

Day 5

 

Breakfast at the hotel.

The third culinary experience with our master Chef will be the cooking of tortilla. Traditional Spanish dish which could be simple, or rather complex. Mushrooms, ham, chorizo, bonito fish, cheese and etc.—the Chef will teach us how to combine the ingredients properly to impress your guests and family.  Again, every Chef has his secrets, we will learn another way to present tortilla—in a modern crocket-style and in the dietic low-calorie way. The dishes will be complemented by Luberri Maceración Carbonica wine.

In the afternoon we will travel to the magic San Sebastian. We start the tour at La Concha bay promenade—the signature view of the city, present on every picture of all the travel guides and etc.  La Concha beach is situated in the center of the city and starts from the City Council building Pico-del-Loro (eng.: parrot’s beak), going down with its 1500 meters of the white sand.  That gives the city truly elegant and cosmopolitan look.  The old town quarter is a real marvel to stroll along its streets, stop by the pintxo-bars for a glass of refreshing Txakoli and lovely pintxos.

The quality of the seasonal products used by the bars and restaurants is truly amazing, and is referred as a key to success in the local food industry

Upon your preference we would offer you the dinner at the traditional basque restaurant, or the tasting menu at the haut cuisine Michelin starred restaurant of San Sebastián (Arzak, Akelarre, Martin Berasategui).
Return to the hotel in Bilbao.

 

Day 6

 

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we will have fun at the cooking workshop at the Culinary School.  Burst with the creative approach and follow the basic guidelines given by the Master Chef and—here you go—you create Basque pintxo-set.  Salmon and eel canelones, and a traditional bacalao al pil-pil—real must to learn how to cook in the Basque Country, and to enjoy eating it.  You will have lovely lunch complemented by Cava Rosada Brut-Vall d’Lluna—to celebrate the accomplishment of the culinary course of The Chef Aingeru Etxebarria.  All the participants will receive the gifts and the Certificate of the Culinary School of the Chef Aingeru Etxebarria.

Free time in the afternoon in Bilbao to stroll the streets and enjoy the atmosphere, make some shopping, visit culinary delights’ shops from our “must-do” list with the wide range of the top quality wines, liquors, olive oil, jamon and charcuteria, bread and pastries, cheese, chocolates, eco-certified honey (Heather honey is the best here) and jams and etc.

For those fashion-minded travelers, Bilbao offers wide range of the famous international designer brands boutiques, as well, as Spanish designers shops, often offering unique

pieces.  Most of the fashion, jewelry and accessories boutiques are located within the Gran Via, Plaza Mouya and the Old Town, and are easily accessible by a short distance walk from the hotel.

 

Day 7

 

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today we set on a full-day tour to the most famous Spanish winemaking region of Rioja.  You will see the very old traditional bodegas (wineries) sticking to the old style winemaking and the starring fully-modern in style and approach wineries.  Besides from enological delight, Rioja is a place to see futurist architectural buildings serving as fully functioning wineries, created by the famous modern architects. Following the tour to the bodega you will take part in the tasting of the wines, led by a profesional sommelier explanation and the consultation on the food pairing technique .

We will have lunch at the restaurant of one of the traditional winemakers family bodega, enjoy the warm welcome and the delicious food paired with the wine of the bodega Baigorri or Vivanco.

Return to Bilbao.

 

Day 8

Breakfast at the hotel

Free time.  Transfer to the airport in Bilbao (BIO).

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