DINE YOUR WAY THROUGH SPAIN PROGRAMS
The Road of Bread and Wine
This exceptional gastronomic adventure takes you to the rolling hills of the Valley of Penedes, south of Barcelona. Penedes is known as Catalonia’s wine producing region and is home to Spain’s regal sparkling cava champagne industry. Here you’ll find 185 established bodegas, wineries, producing Merlot, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Monastrell, Carignane, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (reds), as well as Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Muscatel to name just a few. Many of these great vinos and cavas have not yet been discovered by American connoisseurs, but are already well known to their savvy European counterparts.
In the Valley of Penedes you’ll stay in lovely rustic accommodations right in the heart of the vineyards and close to historic towns and villages. During this exclusive gourmet and wine adventure, you’ll learn to cook great country catalonian dishes. When you return home, you’ll be able to share with friends all your new recipes and know just the right wines to accompany them. You’ll also visit some of the historic towns like Vilafranca de Penedes and Poblet. Your tour will end in sophisticated Barcelona, known as “The Paris of the South”. This Catalonian gastronomy adventure is designed to not only be a feast for the palate, but for the eyes, ears and hearts.
VIEW SAMPLE ITINERARY
Valley of Penedes • Vilafranca del Penedes • Poblet and Barcelona. Optional Girona
All itineraries can be modified to fit your travel time, budget and specific interests.
Day 01 – Santiago de Compostela
Today your transfer will greet you and drive to your elegant accommodations. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner in one of Santiago’s most established restaurants such as: Casa Marcelo where you’ll start becoming acquainted with the excellent gastronomy and wines of Galicia.
Day 02 – Santiago de Compostela
This morning, your guide will greet you and take you on a walking tour of this magnificent historic city. You’ll start your visit by the Plaza do Obradoiro, from where you’ll admire the majestic baroque towers on each side of the Cathedral dating back to the 11th century. Santiago’s Cathedral pays homage to St. James and is visited by thousands of Pilgrims each year. You’ll enter through the 9th century Portico main entrance, built by King Alfonso II. After your tour of the Cathedral walk along the roof path and take in the magnificent views of the city.
Then continue to the historic Hostal dos Reis Catolicos now a Parador and Town Hall. The historic quarter is full of narrow winding streets, lined with historic buildings and typical “tapas” bars and old restaurants that come to life in the evening. After your visit partake a delicious “comida“ lunch in one of Santiago’s best restaurants.
Day 03 – Padron / Cambados – Rias Baixas / Pontevedra
This morning you travel to the town of Padrón, kown for its small green peppers, Pimientos. They are usually served grilled or fried with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They taste mild, but they also can be very spicy. The Valley of Herbón, produces over 15,000 kilos of Padrón.
This morning you travel to Cambados, along the coastal Rias Baixas, while you take in the beautiful scenery. Today you’ll visit one of the most established Bodegas (winery) in the Valley of O Salnes. As well as tour some of the vineyards that produce the highest quality of Galician Albariño wines.
Cambados is known for its Albariño white wines. This area of Galicia provides perfect climate for the type of grape and aroma to produces an ideal Albariño wine. This excellent wine is also known as ‘the sea wine’ due to the location of the vineyards near the ocean, and for being the perfect complement to Galicia’s famed seafood. Cambados, is also known for its excellent seafood, some of it which comes from La Ria de Arousa. After an excellent comida (lunch) continue to Pontevedra.
The beautiful medieval city of Pontevedra, was built between the green Valleys surrounding it and the Tomeza and Lerez Rivers. As you walk through its old winding streets, you’ll admire their stone medieval homes and buildings, several Plazas and a Church featuring a main area shaped liked a typical Camino shell. After your visit, relax and enjoy the local gastronomy during dinner.
Day 04 – Ribadavia / Miño River
This morning you travel to the historic town of Ribadavia, which lies on the banks of the Miño River. This area is well known for its production of excellent Ribeira wines introduced by monks during the 12th century. The town’s historic buildings, Plaza Mayor and Town Hall feature an excellent example of 15th century architecture. Rivadavia was declared a historical site in 1947. Rivadavia is surrounded by part of its former town walls. There are buildings and sites of importance, where the former Jewish Quarter and Synagogue once stood.
You’ll also visit the remains of the Castillo of Sarmientos castle, where the Counts of Rivadavia once lived. Then partake of the local cuisine, before visiting other wine producing areas, full of rich vineyards covering slopping hills that follow the river.
Day 05 – Santiago de Compostela – San Sebastian
This morning your transfer will drive you to the airport for your flight to San Sebastian, the next stop in your gastronomy adventure. This itinerary has been designed to be combined with the Basque Country.
Day 01 – Barcelona to the Valley of Penedes
Upon your arrival you’ll be greeted and driven to your lovely rustic farmhouse accommodations in the heart of Catalonia’s wine country. The rustic masia of Cal Ruget dates back to the 19th century. It’s ideally located close to several outstanding wineries as well as the historic town of Vilafranca de Penedes.
During your stay you’ll find yourself surrounded by acres of vineyards and farmland against the backdrop of the Montserrat Mountains. Once you’ve settled in your masia, your host will show you around. This evening enjoy welcome cocktails before partaking of an exquisite country Catalonian dinner.
Day 02 – Cooking in Penedes
This morning after a hearty breakfast, your first culinary adventure begins under the able tutelage of your host/cook. You’ll learn to cook several of the most popular Catalonian rustic dishes by preparing them yourself under your host’s watchful eye. And then you’ll dine on what you just cooked for lunch
That afternoon you’ll visit one of the established family owned wineries in Penedes. Cal da Rafols, is well known for its unique methods of processing and aging wine. You’ll appreciate their excellent selection of organic wines. After your tour and wine tasting, you’ll return to your masia, where you can relax before la cena (dinner).
Day 03 – Tasting wine in Vilafranca–Penedes
Today you’ll travel to the capital of the Valley, the medieval town of Vilafranca del Penedès, established during 12th century. There you’ll visit one of most interesting museums on the history of wine making in Europe. You’ll also visit four popular local markets, one of which has been in constant use since the 12th century and where the local produce is featured.
At King James I Plaza, at the center of the town, you’ll find yourself surrounded by several magnificent examples of medieval Gothic architetucture. Like the Comtes-Reis Palace, a building dating back to the 12th, where King Pere the Greatdied in 1285, the Balta Palaceand the Church of Santa Maria. You’ll also visit Vila Plaza and the Vilafranca Council, where you’ll see the ancient Chapel of St. Joanjuxtaposed with some very modernist architecture. Magically it all works together. Your tour will end with the Church of Sant Francesc, featuring the altar piece of the Virgin of Sant Jordi, a great Gothic Catalan treasure.
When finished sit down to a typical Catalonian country lunch in one Vilafranca’s many celebrated family owned restaurants. After lunch, visit yet another well-established winery, Cavas Recadero, where you’ll learn more about making cava (champagne). After tasting several varieties of wine and cava, you’ll return to your picturesque accommodations for a relaxed evening.
Day 04 – Day in ancient Poblet–Penedes
Today you’ll assist and participate in putting together a typical country picnic amidst lovely surroundings within walking distance of your masia.
In the afternoon, you’ll pass through the green valleys of Vilafranca del Penedès to the fortified Royal Monastery of Santa Maria of Poblet, a Unesco World Heritage site. It was founded by French Cisternians Monks during the 12th century. At the time it was considered the most influential monastery. It became the burial place of many of Catalonia’s rulers. In their Gothic Cloister, you’ll find the magnificent King’s Phanteon, where King James I of Aragon and King Pere III are buried. When finished, return to your masia for a relaxing evening.
Day 05 – Cooking in Historic Barcelona
This morning after breakfast you travel to Barcelona, where you’ll discover why Barcelona is called by many ‘The Paris of the South’. You’ll start with a private tour of the Gothic Quarter. As you wind your way along narrow winding streets, past mansions and palaces, past the Cathedral and the site of former Synagogues, you’ll learn of a rich past, dating back to the Roman times. When finished walk to the Plaza del Rey, where you’ll visit the medieval palace and chapel. The Generalite Palace, was once home to King James the Conqueror during the 13th century. You’ll also admire theTorre del Rey Martí offering panoramic view of the streets of the historic Gothic Quarter and city beyond.
You’ll also explore one of the world’s most unique and celebrated Barcelona City History Museum, which takes you on a two-thousand-year-long trip, through the city’s Roman times to present day. It’s located in a beautiful old 16th-century mansion featuring an attractive central courtyard. This expedition into the past takes you to fascinating underground Roman ruins. You’ll actually walk along former paved Roman roads, remains of Roman houses and to the old city walls.
Finish your walking tour with a promenade along the famed Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s favorite boulevard for pedestrians and people-watchers. Here you’ll find a large variety of tapas bars, restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions. You’ll walk by the turn of the century La Boqueria Mercado, where you’ll learn more about all the ingredients that have made Spanish Mediterranean Gastronomy one of the world’s premier cuisines and the preferred ingredients used in the popular “tapas” bars.
Return to your hotel and rest. Early that evening, you’ll be taken to meet one of Barcelona’s great chefs who will show you, hands-on, how to cook several favorite local dishes such as the fideu peaux; a noodle paella, along with other main dishes and desserts. When finished, you’ll have the opportunity to relax and enjoy your cooking efforts during dinner at the restaurant.
Day 06 – Gaudi’s Barcelona
Today you’ll be joined by an expert guide who will take you on a walking tour of the unique Parc Guell with its impressive creative design by master architect Antonio Gaudi against a spectacular panoramic view of the city. You’ll also visit another Gaudi Masterpiece, the original and beautiful La Casa Gaudi, built at the turn of the 20th century. Then continue to the greatest Gaudi masterpiece of them all, and one of the world’s most creative and imaginative buildings. La Basilica de La Sagrada Familia.
You’ll be able to fully explore the building from its basement to the heart of the Cathedral. Your tour will include a comprehensive description of the ongoing work and a visit to the Basilica’s Museum.
Tonight end your visit of Barcelona with a panoramic tour of this magnificent city, which will include the elegant Paseo da Graciafeaturing the many more buildings designed by Master Gaudi, then by Christopher Columbus Monument, Barcelona’s famous Port and the Olympic city. After your tour, enjoy a farewell dinner in one of Barcelona’s great restaurants.
Day 07 – USA
This morning you’ll be driven to Barcelona’s International airport El Prat for your return flight home.
Optional Add-On Day in Medieval Girona
Today you travel to the walled city of Girona. This city got its start as a Roman post during the 2nd century. It was original called Gerunda. You’ll be completely captivated by this beautiful medieval city. To enter ancient Girona, you cross over the Rio Onyar on an ancient drawbridge called the Pont d’en Gomez. Then you pass through the old stone gates called Bonastruc Ca Porta. Suddenly you find yourself in a maze of alleyways and steps in the middle of the old Jewish Quarter called El Call. From there your adventure into the Middle Ages begins.
First you’ll visit to the Cathedral of Girona. The west face is pure Catalon Baroque. The rest of the building is Gothic. It was built on the site of an original Moorish mosque. Nothing of it remains. But the ancient Arabian Baths are still intact. So are old Jewish homes and mansions. This was a thriving Jewish community during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was the home of the great Jewish scholar and Kabbalist, Nachmanides, known among his people until this day as the Ramban. You’ll learn all about the Ramban in the Catalan Jewish Museum and how the Jewish communities lived. Girona underwent twenty-five sieges since its Roman days. And it was captured seven times, the last of which occurred during the Napoleonic war.
You’ll want to walk along the ramparts of the original Roman Walls which have been preserved. During the last 10 ten years, missing parts of the city walls on the eastern side of the city have been reconstructed. The Passeig de la Muralla is a favorite tourist route which takes you all around Girona’s historic quarter. You’ll end your tour by having lunch, in one of the many excellent restaurants that have made Girona a favorite of the gastronomy aficionados from all over the Continent. When finished, return to Barcelona.