PRICE: from 3459-€
WHEN: April to October
DURATION: 8 days
NEAREST AIRPORT: Barcelona
Experience the tastes of Spain in Catalonia
From the winner of the 'Best restaurant in the world' prize â€“ El Bulli, to the three Michelin star El Celler de Can Roca, Catalonia's restaurants have frequently been voted world-class and its food considered some of the finest in Spain.
During the course of this seven day gastronomic tour, specially designed by Spanish experts with unparalleled access to the most authentic food in the region, you will get to know the flavours of Catalonia, from the famous tapas bars of Barcelona's Medieval Gothic Quarter to some of the best countryside restaurants.
More than tasting the food, you will also see how many local specialities are produced and gain unique access to individual producers.
From rural makers of cured sheep's cheese to privately run olive oil mills and vegetable gardens to the organic wineries of the Penede's region, famous for its wines and cavas, you will experience the real tastes of Spain. There will also be a boat trip out to the mussel and oyster farms of the scenic River Ebro delta.
Witnessing the gastronomic process from start to finish, you will then see how the food is sold and prepared in some of the region's most famous traditional fresh food markets such as Barcelona's world famous, 19th century Boqueria on Las Ramblas to cookery classes and workshops with top local cooks and chefs.
Alongside the food, you will also take in some of Catalonia's most striking scenery and architecture. Highlights will include the madcap, visionary Art Nouveau buildings of Gaudi in Barcelona, the lush wine-growing countryside of Penede's and a spectacular cable-car journey to the mountain of Montserrat with its ancient boulders, lunar landscape and Medieval monastery.
Day One - Barcelona (Tapas Tour in the Gothic Quarter)
We'll arrive at Barcelona Airport and transfer through this bustling cosmoplitan city to our selected hotel. One of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean, world-famous for its outstanding food, Art Nouveau architecture, this industrious cultural epicenter will delight and charm with its vibrant atmosphere and historic European charm. We'll relax with a drink as we discuss our proposed itinerary, before heading out for the afternoon to explore the winding medieval streets of the old center.
We'll be visiting a few of the best examples of tapas bars, in the Gothic Quarter, (known as the Barri Gotic), offering typical Barcelonian tapas, accompanied by wine or beer.
Overnight in Barcelona
Transfer times: 20 minutes from airport.
Day Two - Barcelona (Gastronomy Rally and Unique Architecture)
After breakfast, we'll meet our gourmet guide for the first of many gastronomy adventures: a visit to one of the most famous food markets in Europe - La Boqueria, opened in 1836.
Overflowing with an abundance of variety and color, you'll quickly discover why Mediterranean cuisine is internationally known for its quality ingredients; our culinary expert will guide us to the top stalls selling fruit, vegetables, meats, seafood, bread and desserts.
Our tour continues on through the charming streets of the Gothic Quarter, and what we didn't spot yesterday, we'll have time to admire today as we visit the stunning Gothic Cathedral, historic churches and squares, absorbing the history of this dynamic city with its Roman and medieval past.
But not forgetting the tour's main focus: food! We'll be sampling artisan delights from specialty food shops, popping in for tastings of Catalan cheese, charcuterie, pastries, olives and chocolates. We'll be taking lunch in a typical Catalan restaurant in the old part of town to experience some of the specialties on a traditional Catalan menu such as escalivada (roasted vegetables), calcotada, (a traditional fiesta consisting mainly of calcots, sweet onions typical from the Valls area (Tarragona), and wooden oven-grilled meats accompanied by delicious local wines.
This afternoon, we'll stroll through the Art Nouveau (or Modernista) district, enjoying the fabulously eccentric buildings of world renowned architect Gaudi, including Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.
This evening will be yours to do as you wish: relax in the hotel or take in the sights and sounds of the hotspot popular with tourists and locals alike: the tree-lined pedestrian promenade of Las Ramblas, with the option to end your evening in style at a flamenco show.
Day Three - Barcelona-Penedes Montserrat and Penedes Wine Country
Penedes wine country is today's destination. With a winemaking history of over 2 000 years old, its undulating hills are home to some of the biggest names in Spanish still and sparkling wine. Before arriving at our gourmet hotel in Penede's, we will drive to one of Spain's most dramatic natural wonders the mountain of Montserrat. Travelling through picturesque provincial villages, we'll take the electric-cable to Montserrat rising some 1,235 meters in height with its lunar landscape and ancient boulders. There you'll be able to visit the historic Royal Basilica, home to the renowned Moreneta Virgen (Virgen de Montserrat).
Your guided visit is complete and after some free time for wandering around we proceed to a short cultural visit to the pottery studio of well-known local ceramicist and sculptor Marti Balta, as well as visiting one of the last remaining traditional barrel-makers in Spain. Here you'll be able to see and learn how barrels are made by highly skilled craftsmen and prepared for the international wine industry.
We'll also take in a short visit to the 12th century castle of Sant Marti Sarroca with views of Penede's before sitting down to a wonderful traditional lunch in a local restaurant, with wood fired ovens. Some of the typical dishes include slow cooked duck with plums and wild mushrooms.
After lunch we will head to our hotel in Penede's; a farmhouse surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and wheat fields, where we can enjoy uninterrupted views across to the mountains of Montserrat and the castle of Sant Marti Sarroca. This 9-room masia (a converted stone built 18th or 19th century farmhouse), is a biohotel, the first of its type in Spain, with a dedicated garden and allotment from which producorganic seasonal products are sourced for meals.
We'll be met for a welcome gift and aperitif by the hotel's charismatic owner - Florian, whose passion for organic for fresh, organic food means he also doubles up as chef and head gardener. Florian will give us a tour of the house facilities, including the swimming pool and garden and then in the evening he'll show us how to prepare three local dishes, plus a dessert in a cooking workshop using organic ingredients from his own garden and local suppliers. We'll then get to enjoy the results of our efforts, paired with local wines, in the comfort and style of the dining room, or the outdoor terrace (weather permitting), accompanied by Florian and his wife.
Overnight in gourmet hotel, Penedes
Transfer times: 70 minutes Barcelona - Montserrat- Penedes
Day Four - Penedes Winery Tour, Food Market Visit and Cooking Tasting Menu
This morning's rural breakfast of fresh organic local products will serve as an introduction to basics of organic cuisine. We'll then take time to explore the area with our expert local guide, by your choice of either bicycle or car.
Then you'll have the chance to shop for some homegrown produce yourself such as leeks, tomatoes or artichokes at the bustling local market where farmhouse suppliers will give us a sense of the area's traditional fare. We'll then enjoy a guided visit to the family-run, century old, Albert I Noya, one of Spain's leading organic wineries. There we'll learn of their unique wine-and cava-making methods, before rounding off a perfect morning with a wine-tasting with snacks.
Before this evening's surprise is revealed, we'll indulge in a light homemade lunch in one of the best family-run restaurants in this wine region, experiencing the renowned gastronomy of Penedes in dishes such as xato - a salad of almonds, olive oil, tomatoes and cod or pato mudo, local duck specific to the region, oven roasted and served with vegetables and pears. We'll then return to the hotel for some downtime.
And; surprise! In the evening you will have a second cooking workshop of a tasting menu especially arranged by hotel owner Florian, showcasing various cooking styles and presentation techniques, including some local tricks. We'll, of course, get to dine on the prepared dishes, letting nothing go to waste!
Overnight in gourmet hotel, Penedes
Transfer times: 90 minutes Hotel Villafranca-Hotel 15 km
Day Five - Penedes-Priorat (Priorat culture and gastronomy, Local winery tour, Monastery visit, Olive oil tasting)
After breakfast we depart Penede's and drive one hour south to the beautiful winegrowing region of the Priorat. Upon arrival in the little cliff-top village of Siurana, our local guide Rachel - an Englishwoman who has been living in the area for the last 15 years, will take us on a tour of the area and reveal the local legend of the Moorish Queen's last leap.
After a short meander to take in the stunning views over the mountainous Priorat region, we'll transfer 20 minutes to the quaint village of Poboleda, arriving at the family-owned and run organic winery Burgos Porta, headed up by husband and wife team Salvador Burgos and Conxita Porta.
After a guided tour by Salvador of this natural amphitheatre of vineyards, Conxita will serve us a selection of homemade tortilla aka Spanish potato omelettes, pan con tomate - French baguette-style bread drizzled with super-fresh tomato and olive oil and coca de recapte (bread base with roasted vegetables) from the village as well as cheese pates, local dried sausages and for dessert, roasted hazelnuts and exceptional coffee.
After lunch, we will drive 6km (app. 3mi)down the road to the little hamlet of Scala Dei to visit the ruins of the former Carthusian monastery, first of this order on the entire Iberian peninsula, and the origins of the 'Prior-at' as we know it today.
Next on our 'village tour' is the little village of La Vilella Baixa, a mere 10 minutes away. Known locally as the 'New York' of the Priorat, its eight-storey houses drop down to the Scala Dei river to make up for the height difference, creating the appearance of skyscrapers.
Here, we visit local the sausage producer, Cal Centro,run by Enric Sabate for an instore sausage tasting and a tour of his 'obrador' sausage factory.
We'll then transfer to our hotel in the picturesque medieval village of Torroja del Priorat, with time to relax and unpack before dinner. Sometime this evening, in the hotel, we'll participate in a guided olive-oil tasting hosted by Gerard Amoros of La Boella, a private olive mill, using professional tasting glasses.
Drive: 100 minutes Penedes-Priorat
Overnight in hotel, Torroja (Priorat)
Day Six - Priorat (Ebro river delta adventure, Seafood and rice)
After an early breakfast we leave promptly for a one-hour transfer to the Ebro River Delta. The journey takes us down the meandering river - the longest in Spain - through olive and orange groves, and eventually, to rice paddies on the delta.
We'll arrive in the bustling port town of Sant Carles de la Rapita, renowned for its seafood and picturesque fishing quarter. There we will take a boat trip out to the mussel and oyster farms located in the shallow waters of the Badia dels Alfacs, an area known for its high quality fresh mussels and oysters. Nothing beats sampling freshly plucked mussels and oysters in the middle of the ocean - on a boat - with a glass or two of local cava! (June to September)
Depart Ebro to return to Priorat. Arrival at hotel and time to relax.
ALTERNATIVE ON REQUEST INSTEAD MUSSELS AND OYSTERS you can visit the salt flats (Les salines de la Trinitat -“ private, usually do not offer tours). This salt making tradition dates back to times when this area was controlled by the Moors. Back on "terra firma" we will drive to the little whitewashed village of Poblenou del Delta, which as its name predicts is in the very centre of the delta. Lunch will be served at a good fish and rice restaurant run by Joan Faiges and known as Cal Faiges.
Transfer to nearby rice factory to meet the owner and learn about the rice making process (depending on time of year, we will see the rice fields, green, brown or beige). Depart Ebro to return to Priorat. Arrival at hotel and time to relax.
Overnight in hotel, Torroja (Priorat)
Transfer times: 2 hours Torroja to Ebro River Delta, Ebro, return.
Day Seven - Priorat (Local organic producers tour and Cheese, Vegetable garden and Olive oil Mill)
Today we will be visiting two local organic food producers: La Serra del Tormo cheese producer in La Torre de l'Espanyol, and the small, privately run Miro & Cubells, olive oil producers in Cabaces.
It's just a short half-hour transfer up the river Ebro to the little village of La Torre de l'Espanyol, where Julio makes two types of cheese in his formatgerÃa (handmade cheese shop): a soft and a cured sheep's cheese. This visit will prove particularly educational and hands-on, as Juliois one of the few cheese makers who has his own flock of sheep. He'll give us a tour of his allotments, as well as a cheese-tasting.
Not to be missed is a visit to the private vegetable garden of the wonderfully charismatic, 75 year old Sisco. Now semi-retired, Sisco's main passion in life is his garden and we'll get a rare chance to see the fruits of his toil.
Just 30 minutes' drive lies the little village of Cabaces in the olive-growing mountains of the Priorat. Here, we'll meet Neus Cubells and her husband, Fernando Miro who set up the first private olive oil mill in the Priorat four years ago. Neus is an excellent cook and she will show us how she makes various traditional dishes in the garden of her home. We'll have lunch here, enjoying home cooking on an open fire, with ingredients well dressed with their organic olive oils, before a guided tour of the mill.
Depart Cabaces to return to hotel to rest. Dinner?
Overnight in hotel, Torroja (Priorat)
Transfer times: 90 minutes Torroja-Cabaces-Torroja
Day Eight - Priorat-Barcelona
Breakfast followed by transfer back to Barcelona airport. 2 hours.
Price Per Person: 3.459 EUROS (*)
Minimum 2 people
Duration - 8 days / 7 nights
(*) SPECIAL PRICES for groups with 4 people or more.
Upgrade of Accommodation on request.
From April to October- Every Week.
From November to March- On request.
We can also organize a similar tour subject to your requirements of number of people and days, budget etc,
please e-mail us on [email protected].
BOOK NOW e-mail us at [email protected] with the departure date and number of people.
Transport for 7 full days.
Transfers from and to Barcelona Airport and from Barcelona to Penedes and to Priorat.
Personalised English/Spanish speaking expert guide throughout the tour.
Seven nights' accommodation based on double occupancy with private bath. Boutique and countryside hotels. Two nights in Barcelona, Two nights in Penedes and three nights in Priorat.
Seven full breakfasts.
Guided visit to the famous Boqueria food market in Barcelona.
Guided gastronomy rally in the Gothic quarter in Barcelona visiting speciality delicatessen shops.
Guided walking tour of the Modernist District in Barcelona including the Gaudi monuments.
Guided visit of Montserrat Sanctuary and Mountain.
Guided cultural tour to Penedes region including the Castle of Sant Marti Sarroca.
Guided visit to a local food market.
Guided visit to a leading organic wine estate in Penedes.
Six Gourmet lunches (charming local restaurants, wineries and private houses).
Three dinners, one based on a tapas tour and another two based on two cooking workshops.
Guided visit to an olive mill including olive-oil tasting with snacks.
Guided trip to Ebro river Delta.
Guided visit to a sausage factory.
Guided visit of a family run winery followed by wine tasting.
Private guided olive oil tasting in the hotel.
Guided visit to Scala Dei, Carthusian Monastery (Origins of Priorat).
Guided visit to a private local fruit and vegetable allotment.
Two towns and medieval villages guided walking tours.
Guided visit to a private cheese-maker factory including tasting.
Guided visit to a mussel and oyster farm in the river Ebro Delta including tasting.
Guided visit to a local private rice factory.
What is not Included
Meals not specified.
EXAMPLE OF ACCOMMODATION USED IN BARCELONA, PENEDES AND PRIORAT (*)
Hotel the Praktik (Barcelona)
Located in a historical building from the Modernist age, in the heart of the Eixample district. A short walk from Paseo de Gracia and PlaÃ§a Catalunya; close to Casa Mila and Casa Terrades. Sagrada Familia, Catedral de Barcelona and Museu Picasso.
The rooms have free wireless Wi-Fi Internet connection available 24 hours a day. A computer is provided in the hotel lounge, so that you can consult it whenever you want. If you want to travel as light as possible, leave your laptop at home. At Praktik you will find vending machines for all the snacks you might feel like having throughout the day... and the night. Two options for Breakfast are offered: one in the well-known restaurant "Qu Qu" located in Paseo de Gracia, just 4 blocks from the hotel and another restaurant closer, just 50 meters away. In both of them you can enjoy an excellent breakfast (small baguette to choose + pastry + coffee + orange juice) for just 6.48 euros per person.
The Praktik has a larger and beautifully arranged terrace for you to enjoy throughout your stay.
The hotel has 43 designer rooms, which combine the most chic trends with the spirit of the Barcelona Modernist style at a low cost. The hundred-year-old ceilings and floors have retained the original moldings and mosaics; the contemporary design lamps defy gravity; the mirrors and bold design touches convey unique sensations. The decor of the rooms showcases a combination of Barcelona modernism and striking cultural heritage, retaining the century-old ceilings and mosaic floors alongside the addition of smart contemporary lighting, mirrors and amenities.
All rooms have TV, free WIFI and fully-fitted bathroom.
Cal Ruget Bio-Hotel (Penedes)
Situated in the heart of Penedes you will find our farmhouse near the village of Vilobi just 9 km from Villafranca del Penedes and a little more than 45 km from Barcelona and Tarragona.
From the masia, which is surrounded by vineyards and tipical crops of the area, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the mountains of Montserrat to the castle of Sant Marti Sarroca. The main house dates from the beginning of the 1900s with characteristic architectural elements inspired by the rural surroundings.Over the years the house has been modernised and currently includes more than 550 sq metres distributed between the main house and the various outbuildings.
A large secluded garden is composed of vines, fruit trees, ecological vegetable garden and numerous small corners that invite you to relax and listen to the rhythm of country life.All rooms have an area exceeding 25 m2, and have a full bathroom with shower, large beds, Radio & CD-player, TV and open-bar. Each room is decorated in country style itself and different from the others, with endless small details.
This Bio-hotel is a pioneering initiative, the first country hotel of its type in Spain. As a Bioh-otel, our "raison d'etre" is maximum respect for the environment, sustainability and the cultivation and use of biological products. To enjoy this property is to satisfy the five senses, without haste and with time to observe the smaller details of life.
Cal Compte (Priorat)
Cal Compte is one of the most luxurious stately homes in the region of the Priorat. Situated in the centre of the village Torroja del Priorat right opposite the church, it was built in 1801 although the house has parts which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. This house belonged to one of the foremost families in the Priorat. The house is a recognized heritage site for its architectural interest whose owners have respectfully renovated it.
Cal Compte aims to combine respect for history with modern installations and most importantly comfortable ones. All the lodgings are on the top floor of the house. There are eight individually decorated rooms. The rooms are set around a central room with sofas and a wood-burning fireplace. It has a sunbathing terrace complete with deck chairs. Standard rooms or studios with small kitchens for self-catering. Every room has a bathroom, Air conditioning and central heating. Each shower has a wooden floor and is enclosed in safety glass with monsoon shower heads. It has environmentally friendly toilets that save water. We use body products specially made for us by a local artisan based on wine extracts.
Cal Compte uses only quality materials: 100% cotton bedclothes (Nicoletta), all season quilts, 180x200m mattresses Flex (double and single beds), "monoon" showers, lighting by Santa & Cole, upholstery and curtains by GastÃ³n & Daniela, shutters by Nanimarquina.
On the second floor there is a ballroom and a colonial terrace. Cal Compte offers an Art&Wine Gallery which organizes special events, meetings, conferences, celebrations, weddings, olive oil tastings, wine tastings, exhibitions.
On the ground floor there is a dining room with a well equipped kitchen for preparing breakfast, lunch or dinner even for use in self catering or cooking classes.Also, Cal Compte boasts a specialist library on wine and olive oil, some books have been written by the owners themselves, who are recognized authorities on these subjects.
Sunny colonial terrace with lounge seating for great views over vineyards, perfect for reading a book and relaxing with a cup of tea o a nice glass of wine. The loudest thing you will hear is the chirping of the birds!, Shared outdoor pool unheated, BBQ and solarium are also available.