Access Culinary Trips is expanding its European offerings with its first three trips to Spain and an itinerary to Sicily. The new trips build on the success of the company’s trips to Tuscany and Croatia, launched in 2018.
Guests on the small group tours will have access to experienced guides, artisanal tastings, hands-on cooking classes with local chefs, and stays at top-tier boutique hotels.
Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Culinary Trips, says that the company’s first culinary tours were to Morocco, Vietnam and Peru, but that guests were especially interested in such trips to Europe. “Last year, when we launched our first European culinary vacations in Italy and Croatia, the demand for more Europe itineraries was so high that we decided to make Europe a key part of our growth strategy,”she said.
The new tours are offered from April to October as part of organized small group trips for 12 people or less and are also available as private trips year-round.Highlights for each are below:
Culinary highlights: Cooking class and dinner led by Spanish chefs; a visit to a local market and a lunch showcasing the “best of Spain” Iberian Bellota ham, rich cheeses, Spanish olive oils, and the iconic Catalan coca pastry of the Spanish Mediterranean coast; and wine pairings featuring some of the finest Priorat and Penedes wines, as well as regional Rioja red and Galician white wines.
Cultural highlights: Walking tour to see iconic architecture of Antoni Gaudí and exploring the historic Gothic and Born quarters known for their intricate mazes and alleys.
Culinary highlights: A traditional Catalan lunch at an estate winery; visit to the fishing village of Palamós where the local shrimp are prized throughout Spain; stopping for fresh honey and goat cheese from a local grandma and enjoying her recuit de drap, a traditional dessert cheese from the Empordà region.; and a cooking class to learn the secrets of traditional Catalan cooking.
Cultural highlights: Walking through the Passeig de la Muralla and the Jewish Quarter “El Call,” featuring a maze of narrow, winding, cobblestoned lanes dating back over 500 years ago; and visiting the hilltop medieval towns of Pals and Peratallada.
For travelers who have more time and want to experience the best of Catalonia, there is a comprehensive seven-day tour combing both itineraries: Catalonia Culinary Tour: A Moveable Feast. All itineraries include accommodations in four-star boutique properties. In Barcelona, this includes a renovated 19th-century modernist hotel, home to an award-winning restaurant run by Chef Martín Berasategui, who holds more Michelin stars than any other Spanish chef.
Culinary highlights: Visiting an open-air market where a local chef assists in choosing ingredients for a cooking class of traditional Sicilian dishes; cheese tasting at a dairy farm; meeting a local artisan who shares secrets of a centuries old chocolate-making tradition; and visiting a renowned olive oil producer for a tasting and lunch of local foods and wine.
Cultural highlights: Exploring ancient ruins dating back to the eighth century BC; strolling the baroque Ortygia streets where the Greeks, Romans, and Normans left their collective marks; meeting a family of puppet makers to learn the secrets of Sicilian puppet opera.