In additional to your foodie Intrepid leader, this trip comes with the added bonus of a wine specialist from Vinomofo, which means double the epicurean expertise. Enjoy tastings in top provincial wineries sought out by Vinomofo, including Vinedos de Paganos in Laguardia, and Losada Vinos de Finca in Cacabelos. Steeped in pride and tradition that stretches back an age, Catalan cuisine is all about fresh local produce. Get a chef’s insight into the best ingredients at Santa Caterina market. Logrono is a wonderland of top-notch taperias, each with their own speciality. Watch the master of mushrooms at Bar Soriano prepare hundreds of buttery, garlicky wild mushrooms for you to feast on during a tapas crawl
Taste the flavours of Northern Spain on an epicurean journey through one of Europe’s most rewarding food and wine regions. A wine-lover’s variant of the stellar Northern Spain Real Food Adventure, this special itinerary comes courtesy of Vinomofo, like-minded friends of Intrepid whose wine knowledge and connections take the experience to the next level. Taste not only the best of hearty northern Spanish cuisine – from Catalonia through to Galicia – but visit handpicked provincial wineries along the way to sample some of the region’s most beloved varietals. Explore the underground caves of Laguardia, hit the beach in San Sebastian, experience a traditional Asturian sidreria (cider house) near Oviedo and venture to vineyards around Santiago de Compostela.
Hola! Welcome to Barcelona, a city characterised by unique Catalan cuisine, thumping nightlife and a progressive creative scene. We kick off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today, so arrive at any time before that. Those arriving early can check out the Gothic Quarter, the Picasso Museum, the tree-lined La Rambla strip or take the funicular up Tibidabo or Montjuic for beautiful views over the city and harbour. Otherwise, first on the agenda is a tasting of locally produced cava (Catalan sparkling wine) or vermouth in a local bar. Afterwards, you're free to spend the night as you please. It's a good opportunity to try some traditional bites like croquettes, fresh anchovy fillets pickled in vinegar with salt and garlic, or chargrilled aubergines with peppers and onions with some local sangria.
In the morning, go on a sampling safari through the stalls of Santa Catarina Market, which offers a huge trove of local produce beneath a colourful, curvaceous roof. Here we pick up some ingredients for a cooking demonstration. After your Catalan market breakfast, head to a gourmet shop for an olive oil tasting. Then, at lunchtime, a respected Barcelona chef shows you how to prepare some Catalan specialties – perhaps salt cod salad or crema catalana. Sit down to a leisurely repast, best accompanied by a glass or two of wine from the nearby Penedes region. The afternoon is then yours to enjoy. Spend it exploring more of the city's foodie hotspots, or get cultural with some Gaudi at the Casa Mila or La Sagrada Familia. A stop at this cathedral, possibly the most iconic landmark in this city, is highly recommended (pre-book online to avoid the queues). Maybe get lost in the mysterious alleys of the Gothic Quarter and finish the day with a sip of red wine from a porron – a traditional glass pitcher.
In the morning, take public transport to Logrono, a town with one of the most distinguished culinary traditions in Spain. Crossing the regions of Aragon and Navarra, take in the beautiful landscapes along the trail. Once in Logrono you are in the capital of La Rioja, one of the most famous wine regions in Spain. Logrono is also part of the Camino de Santiago, that famous Spanish pilgrimage that attracts walkers from all over. Embark on a walk with your guide to discover the history behind the walls of this city, which are washed by the Ebro River. Tonight is the perfect moment to sample the regional delicacies from La Rioja – perhaps grilled chorizo or wild mushrooms with a rich local red – as the group heads out for tapas and drinks in Calle Laurel. You will have to choose between the 60 or so tapas bars on this street – not the worst problem to have. Your leader will of course have some recommendations.
Enjoy private visits and tastings this morning at both Senorio de San Vicente and Vinedos de Paganos, two of the most prestigious wineries of the La Rioja region. The wineries belong to the Sierra Cantabria winemakers, a family of local grape growers who have been perfecting their craft for five generations. The latter vineyard is located just outside the walled town of Laguardia, the best-preserved medieval village in Spain. Laguardia is traffic-free in the centre, and underground there's a maze of tunnels in which for many centuries wine was made and stored. Afterwards, transfer (approximately 2 hours) to the lovely seaside town of San Sebastian, arriving in the afternoon. This town is the jewel of the Basque country and has a food-obsessed culture to match. An orientation tour of the Parte Vieja (Old Town) introduces you to the mix of alleyways wedged between the bay and the Urumea River. In the evening, consider hitting the neighbourhood streets for a txikiteo (the Basque way of saying wine-bar-hopping).
In the morning, dive into San Sebastian’s food scene with a local chef. Visit the market of La Bretxa to discover the high quality of the local and seasonal ingredients from this region. Afterwards, participate in a cooking class in a traditional club for locals, with Txakoli wine (the subtle sparkling white that's signature to the region) and Idiazabal cheese, among other Cantabrian specialties – no doubt incorporating fresh local fish. In the afternoon, you're free to explore the city as you please. Perhaps ride a cable car up to Monte Igueldo to take advantage of the panoramic photo opportunities, or hit the winding coast and visit the quaint fishing village of Getaria. San Sebastian’s beaches are a nice leisurely options, as are the local shops and pinxtos bars.
Bilbao & Picos de Europa
After breakfast, take a local bus to Bilbao. Enjoy some free time there, perhaps using it to visit the marvellous Guggenheim, or joining your group and leader for a pintxos lunch in the old quarter. Afterwards, climb by bus (approximately 3 hours) up to Cosgaya, at Picos de Europa National Park. Different to what you'd expect from Spain, this is an Alpine type landscape, high, cool, lush and green, with forests, deep gorges, cliffs and grassland dotted with toffee-coloured cows. Spanning some 647 square kilometres, Picos de Europa spills into three provinces: Asturias, Cantabria and Leon. Andara, Urrielles and Cornion are its three massifs. This evening, tuck into a classic Cantabrian dish – Cocido Lebaniego. It's a hearty stew of black pudding, pork shoulder, chorizo and locally grown chickpeas. Crusty bread and a glass of cider are recommended as accompaniments.
Cosgaya, Potes, Arenas De Cabrales & Oviedo
This morning work up an appetite for today's meals with a walk through the stunning Picos de Europa landscape (approximately 2 hours). Afterwards go on a short excursion to the small mountain town of Potes, nestled in the Picos de Europa National Park in the Cantabria province. Bordered by ancient monasteries, Potes is a quaint tapestry of bridges and houses that oozes history. You'll arrive in time to experience the wonderful weekly food market, an institution traced back as far as 1291. Go for a picnic lunch with local and seasonal products from the market in a spectacular site. Depending on the season, try locally grown apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, chestnuts or Cantabrian cheeses such as 'Picon Bejes-Tresviso' and 'Quesucos'. On the way to Oviedo stop at an Asturian cider house to enjoy a glass in the traditional local style – from a bottle held high over the head into a glass at the knee to get the natural carbonation. Head to Oviedo in the late afternoon (approximately 1.5 hours).
Oviedo, Leon & Cacabelos
Oviedo is a town with a 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. Spend some free time here this morning before we transfer from Oviedo to Leon (approximatey 1.5 hours). Once in Leon perhaps take a walk around the Humedo Cuarter and seek out a nice tapas bar for a bite. You can also visit the gothic cathedral in the old town and take in the light and color that crosses the stained-glass windows. After lunch, transfer to Cacabelos, located on the Bierzo region. Here you'll visit Losada Vinos de Finca, an excellent local winery. Here you can taste three of their fine varieties, be it the rich and full-bodied Pajaro Rojo, the light and easy-drinking Losada, or their delicious (and first) white, the Losada Godello. Spend the night in charming and quiet local accommodation in Cacabelos.
Cacabelos - Salvaterra do Mino - Santiago de Compostela
This morning we drive to Salvaterra do Mino (approximately 2-3 hours drive), here we visit Laval Winery known for its excellent whites. First of all you will visit the vineyards and the facilities; then enjoy a tasting, followed by lunch at the winery. In the afternoon, take a transfer to beautiful Santiago de Compostela. Here you will have free time to visit the old town and the famous cathedral. This beautiful old city holds many delights within its walls, all overseen by the mighty cathedral. Take a walk around the Old District lit up at night, through the arcaded stone streets, the spacious Praza del Obradoiro and past the Archbishop’s imposing palace. Santiago is home to more than just pilgrims, with the large population of students from the university enhancing the city’s nightlife. Perhaps spend the final night of your adventure in one of the cafes, bars or tapas restaurants in the old town.
Santiago de Compostela
The trip comes to an end this morning. Luggage storage and further accommodation can be arranged for those staying on – simply contact your booking agent. Alternatively, stay on the tasting trail with Real Food Adventure Galicia and Portugal, the perfect extension to this adventure.