A Taste of Northern Spain Tour
With Gerry Dawes and John Sconzo
Wednesday, Oct. 28 – Saturday, November 8
(Terms & Conditions Available on Request)
$5795 (double occcupancy) without airfare;
$900 single room supplement
Tour limited to 12 guests.
Day 00 Wed, October 28 Fly USA – Madrid – Vigo
Flights should be booked via Madrid with Vigo as the final destination. Iberia Airlines is your best bet.
Day 01 Thurs., Oct 29 Madrid – Vigo – Cambados
Arrive in Madrid, transfer to the plane to Vigo, pickup at Vigo airport by small bus, drive via the Rias (fjords) to Pontevedra and visit the most important fish market in Spain, then on to nearby Cambados, check into Casa Rosita, give our guests some time to freshen up, then have lunch nearby in a special seafood restaurant and return to the hotel for a siesta. In the evening, we will have a light seafood dinner in Cambados and turn in early.
Drive to vine-covered Meaño through wine country and visit the artesano Albariño producers and taste wines from six wineries, then drive to O Grove and take a boat (if available) out into the Rias and visit some of bateas (shellfish rafts) and eat steamed mussels fresh from a batea, then back in O Grove to D’ Berto for lunch, where we will accompany the lunch with the artesano wines, some 6-8 of them.
After lunch, we will take an hour’s ride back to Cambados and visit the fish market, then the old fisherman’s port and the old quarters of Cambados and have a light dinner in a bar-restaurant in the fishermen’s quarter.
Day 03 Saturday, Oct. 31 Cambados – Santiago de Compostela – Ribadavia – Ribeiro – Monforte de Lemos
After lunch, we will drive an hour or so to Ribadavia, which has one of the best preserved old Jewish quarters in northern Spain, then 10 minutes away, we will visit one of the best wineries in the Ribeiro wine region and taste wines with the owner-winemaker.
Another hour through very picturesque Galicia will take us to the important town of Monforte de Lemos, where we will check in the Parador Nacional de Turismo, which is in a former convent perched a hill. After we check in, we will take a short walking tour of the older sections of Monforte, then relax at the parador until time for dinner, which will be 200 yards down the hill at one of the best regional specialty restaurants in the region. Several winemakers from La Ribera Sacra, one of the greatest red wine regions (with some surprising white wines as well) in Spain, will join us for dinner with their wines. After dinner, we will return to the Parador early.
After a leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning, we will drive half an hour to spectacular Miño River wine region south of the town of Chantada. We will visit several wineries, have lunch with several winemakers and their wines at a special restaurant right on the river, then take a boat ride for an hour on the incredibly picturesque Miño, where the steep hill are covered in vines planted right down to the river’s edge.
Gerry Dawes and winemaker Roberto Regal with several top wines from small artisan producers from the vineyards that line the Miño river around the town of Chantada. At Belesar in Lugo province.
After lunch, we will drive an hour to the southeast back past Monforte to visit the awesome Sil River canyons that are filled with some of the greatest vineyards in La Ribeira Sacra. We will visit some unique wineries and then have an early dinner in a restaurant-winery in the prime Amandi region of Ribeira Sacra.
After dinner, we will return to Monforte de Lemos to the Parador, where we can have optional libations in the patio bar and review the events of the past few days.
After lunch, all but our bus driver will have a bus siesta as we pass through the Picos de Europa mountains and into Asturias, a drive of about two hours with stops.
We will check into our hotel in Cangas, visit some cheesemakers and Cabrales aging caves and taste cheeses accompanied by cider poured splashing into wide-mouthed glasses from bottles held high above their heads by dexterous cider-pouring barmen. We will have dinner in a very colorful sidreria with a cheese guru and sample more cheeses, local specialties such as fabada Asturiana and wonderful steaks.
After dinner, we will return to Cangas.
Day 06 Tuesday, November 3 Asturias – Santillana del Mar – Bilbao
In the morning, we will relax and leave time for shopping in Cangas, visit a couple of cheese villages, then drive north of Oviedo to have lunch at one of the best restaurants in northern Spain, Michelin-starred Casa Gerardo, where father-and-son Chef team Pedro and Marcos Morán will prepare a special menu for us.
After lunch we will drive to Bilbao, diverting to see some of the dramatic Asturian and Cantabrian coasts and fishing ports, along the way. We will stop for an hour in the picturesque medieval village of Santillana del Mar, then drive on to Bilbao arriving in the evening.
We will check into our centrally located hotel in Bilbao, then have tapas in the colorful Plaza Nueva before settling into a wonderful restaurant in the Bilbao barrio of Deusto, where we will have some superb steaks (or fish for those who choose not to have steak), roasted red peppers, salad, sidra (cider) and red and Rosado wines from nearby Basque Rioja Alavesa.
There is a casino in Bilbao for optional games and local bars where we can have the option of relaxing with adult libations.
In the morning, we will have a guided tour of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Frank Gehry.
After the museum tour we will drive to the coast to see some enchanting fishing villages, then drop down into the mountains of the interior of The Basque Country and have lunch at Asador Etxebarri, one of the greatest grill restaurants in the world.
After lunch, we will ride an hour to San Sebastián to our hotel, which overlooks the famous La Concha beach and bay.
After some time to settle into the hotel, we will do a walking tour of the old quarter of San Sebastián, which has the highest concentration of bars (mostly tapas bar-restaurants) in Europe and is a great area for shopping for original gifts. (We can make a stop in the market building to allow those who want to put some laundry in for afternoon or next morning pickup at Cinc a Sec.)
In early evening in two groups, we will sample tapas in a few bars, then gather at one of the best and most colorful of them and have sit-down tapas in their basement restaurant.
Day 08, Thursday, November 5 San Sebastián
After we visit the market, we will take our bus for a 15-minute ride to the Pasaia port, where we will take a five-minute ferry ride to Pasaia Donibane (Pasajes de San Juan in Spanish), a picturesque one-street town where Victor Hugo lived for a year. We will explore this photogenic waterside village, then have lunch in a wonderful typical restaurant overlooking the inlet, where Basque rowers can usually be seen practicing their sport.
We will return to San Sebastián after lunch and the afternoon will be free to explore this
glorious city, walk on the beach, shop, etc.
In early evening, wearing jackets and ties for the gentlemen, evening attire for the ladies, we will gather in the hotel lobby and then board our bus for a short ride up to Monte Igueldo, where we will see breathtaking view overlooking San Sebastián and the sea.
After this breathtaking beginning, we will take a short drive to a Michelin 3 star restaurant to meet the chef and dine on some of his cocina de vanguardia vasca creations that have made this city famous as one of the great gastronomy destinations in the world.
The morning will be free to explore this glorious city, walk on the beach, shop, etc. Again, around noon, we gather back at the hotel, and with our bags on board the bus, drive 30 minutes west to very picturesque fishing village of Getaria on the Basque Coast, where we will have a seafood lunch at one of the best fish restaurants in the world.
Optional Flamenco show.
About Gerry Dawes
Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel G
Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.
Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.
". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts.
culture and travel in Spain with Gerry Dawes.
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The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections
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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award (Written by JBF Outstanding Chef José Andrés)