In association with top US chef Karen Bell, we are delighted to launch a new type of trip - our Culinary Tours. Focusing on food, this trip to Catalunya’s Costa Dorada offers food lovers a chance to see the best this region has to offer. From rustic country inns to Michelin star restaurants, from outdoor paella cooking to fine dining at the home of a top chef, this trip offers a breadth of experiences that are very difficult to find. With hands-on cooking experiences as well as expert-led demonstrations and masterclasses, foodies are going to relish this wonderful trip.
Catalunya is very special. It’s an independent minded ‘place apart’ within Spain, whose coasts stretch into southern France, renowned for modernist architects and artists, free thinking and Barcelona football club. Catalans pride themselves on their culture, art and football but above all it’s the wine and gastronomy that define the people. The finest cavas are produced by local families, some of Europe’s best red wines are made in Priorat, together with a huge range of fine wines across the Catalan regions. In the Costa Dorada superb seafood fresh from the Mediterranean is highly prized, and of course quality pork, lamb and beef is abundant.
Day 1 Monday 1st April. Calcots Day. Meet in the morning in central Barcelona before heading south to Falset to enjoy a calçotada, a local Catalan feast involving the grilling of calçots (very large scallions) over a wood fire barbecue. They are traditionally served with Romesco sauce and we will make this with Roger and Nina (the restaurant owners) before going outside to grill the calçots. There will be plenty of lamb and other meats washed down with tasty local red wines. Check in to Hotel Hostal Sport for the next 3 nights.
Day 2 Tuesday 2nd April. Wine Day , Paella Cookery Class. Wine visit to one of Spain’s best wineries, Clos de l’Obac. Formed in 1987 this winery was a significant player in the resurgence of Priorat. OwnerCarles Pastrana brought together the initial mythical group of Clos pioneers to reinvent the region through careful cultivation of old vine garnacha. We have a special wine-paired lunch and cooking class in Gratallops at the delightful Clos Figueras, owned by English wine guru Christopher Cannan who was one of the early exporters fine Priorat wines and then bought Figueras in the mid 90s. Back at the hotel our local chef instructs us how to make that most Spanish of dishes, paella. This will be a hands-on cooking experience.
Day 3 Wednesday 3rd April. Olive Oil Day, Barbecue Masterclass. We go to Reus for an olive oil and vermouth tasting. We visit Casa Gasull, tasting their oils in splendid surroundings before a short walk to a Vermuteria to have a light lunch with some fine Vermouth. Back at the hotel local producers Moli d’Oli give a private tasting with the olive oil owner showcasing some top oils. For dinner Karen will demonstrate the cooking of various cuts of meat on the outdoor barbecue.
Day 4 Thursday 4th April. Michelin Seafood day. Optional morning fishing boat ride from the coastal town of Cambrils. This will last around 2 hours and we hope to catch some fresh fish. Bring the fish to the Michelin star restaurant El Rincon de Diego where we witness a masterclass involving the preparation and cooking of the fish, followed by a superb lunch. Free evening, perhaps a chance to savor local drink horchata in one of the cafes on the promenade. Staying Sol Port, Cambrils.
Day 5 Friday 5th April. Barcelona Market Day, Chef’s Table. Head back to Barcelona for a visit to the world famous La Boqueria market to pick top class ingredients before a cookery lesson and lunch. Chef Xabi Bonilla, who has previously worked at a 2* Michelin restaurant, will tutor us through a Spanish-themed cookery demonstration in his own home. Six plates matched with wines means a great foodie day in the city. Check in to the H10 Urquinaona in central Barcelona.
Day 6 Saturday 6th April. City Tapas and Gourmet Dinner Day. Free morning. At lunch head to the fashionable Gracia district to visit a couple of local tapas bars that serve authentic local tapas, a little bit off the normal tourist path. Evening visit to Monvinic, a temple to wine that devotes itself to providing a fine and broad wine tasting experience for locals and travellers alike. We enjoy a private dinner there. A great way to end the tour at the wine bar reckoned to be number 1 in the world by the Wall Street Journal.
Day 7 Sunday 7th April. End of tour.