Price: $6,950 (subject to a 12 person minimum)
(Airfare and travel insurance not included)
Welcome to Barcelona! With its bustling streets, magical architecture, array of tapas restaurants, and gorgeous beaches, Barcelona is truly a festival for the senses. Upon arrival in Barcelona, you’ll be greeted at the airport by your private driver, and transferred to your four-star hotel for some time to relax. Tonight we’ll have a welcome dinner with Chef Jose at the brand new Louis 1856 with Michelin-starred Chef Jordi Vila, a special treat in the new space at the factory Moritz.
This morning you will start the day with a city tour of this vibrant city. Explore La Boqueria – the very lively market on the Ramblas — and the amazing gothic quarter, or Barrio Gòtico, with its little alleyways, many monuments, and impressive cathedral. Experience the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, as your tour stops at Park Güell, a garden city right out of a fairy tale, and the Sagrada Família, the most famous attraction in Barcelona. This early afternoon we will head to one of Spain’s best restaurants and one of the largest influences on host Chef Jose Chesa’s career and skills, Can Jubany, and experience the culinary works of art that Chef Nandu Jubany creates. We’ll enjoy a lovely day in the Spanish countryside, and then return in our private bus to the city. If time allows, we may have a chance this evening to experience Flamenco, the beautiful and sensual dance of Southern Spain! Sleep in Barcelona.
Today we’ll start with a wonderful breakfast at La Boqueria market in one of the fun energetic tapas bars, and then have some time for exploring on your own. Tonight, we will have dinner at the exciting, newly opened Disfrutar, open after years of intense work at El Bulli, where chefs Mateu Casanas, Oriol Casto and Eduard Xatruch met and trained as professionals. This is one of Barcelona’s most exciting new restaurants.
Today you will have two options: At an additional cost, the first 8 people to reserve will have the opportunity to lunch at El Celler de Can Roca, named the TOP RESTAURANT in the world on the prestigious San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World annual list. We will train it there and enjoy a spectacular lunch with your hosts Chris Angelus and Jose Chesa. For those not going on this excursion, the day is open to visit spots in Barcelona that you don’t want to miss. We can help you with reservations or the booking of a private guide. Then, we’ll have a casual late-night dinner in Barcelona, within walking distance of the hotel.
Today we hit the road and head north in the morning, stopping for brunch at restaurant Vesta del Soton, where we’ll experience traditional Aragonese cuisine around a cozy circular fireplace made for the mountain region. This is one of the Chesa family’s favorites, not far from their vacation home. Then we will head to little village of Zaragosa, and visit the summer home of the Chesa family. We’ll meet Jose’s father, who inspired Jose to pursue his career as a chef, have a toast in their incredible wine cellar boasting thousands of bottles of wine dating back a hundred years. Then we will hit the road again and drive to the famed La Rioja wine region, and we’ll settle in for the night near Laguardia, the region’s most charming village. Sleep near Laguardia.
Today you will explore La Rioja wine region and learn about the main varietal of the area, Tempranillo. The history of Rioja is interestingly connected to the history of Bordeaux, because when phylloxera hit Bordeaux, the French came over the Pyrenees in search of wines that bore some resemblance to theirs. They brought with them oak barrels which gave the wine a pronounced vanilla flavor — a trademark of the region’s wines today. You will visit amazing wine estates where you will sample both traditional wines and more modern productions, and have a lovely meal along the way. A stop at the incredible Marques de Riscal’s City of Wine, designed by Frank. O. Gehry, will certainly be a highlight. The building, covered with titanium, displays the colors of Marqués de Riscal: pink like the wine, gold like the mesh on the Riscal bottles, and silver like the bottle top. We’ll end the day with a lovely stroll around Laguardia. Sleep near Laguardia.
This morning we will hit the road again and head toward Bilbao, the most important city in Basque Country. Just a few miles away of the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao has a large harbor and an oceanic climate. Thanks to its privileged position there is an awesome culinary tradition, which is considered the most inventive in Spain. Fish, mostly cod and hake, is the star ingredient, but you cannot miss tapas-like appetizers called pintxos. The food alone is worth a visit, but you will also have the chance to visit the famous Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry. With more than ten million visitors to its credit, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has changed the way people think about museums! Next we will drive to San Sebastian and get settled in at our four-star hotel. We’ll then venture out to the city’s famous pintxo bars and munch our way until we need to sleep. Sleep in San Sebastian.
We’ll start the day with a morning guided walking tour of San Sebastian if you so choose (or sleep in!). San Sebastian is known for its idyllic beaches, world-class cuisine, cobblestoned old town, upscale shopping, and pinxtos bars that pair local wines with bite-sized delicacies. We’ll be sure to visit a variety of these bars, while you sink into lovely atmosphere of this resort town. We’ll have a dinner within walking distance of the hotel. Sleep in San Sebastian.
Your last day on this wonderful culinary journey will start with breakfast in the market. Then you’ll have the day off to explore and shop the city’s wonderful upscale retail stores. For our farewell dinner, depending on the number and timing of bookings for this trip, our plan is to venture out for a short drive on our private bus to Berasategui, a 3-Michelin Star restaurant, and just named Trip Advisor’s BEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD. If not there, another extraordinary dining experience. We’re sure you’ll do your research. And once you do, please call to make your reservation for this once in a lifetime journey.
This morning you’ll be transferred to the Bilbao airport for your departure flight home.
About Chef Jose Chesa of Ataula, Chesa, and 180
Chef Jose Chesa grew up in Barcelona, the son of a chef and restaurateur. At the age of 15, he entered culinary school. Before long he was cooking at some of the finest restaurants in Barcelona and the region. He cooked his way through Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris in New York, on his way to opening the highly praised Ataula in Portland in 2013. In 2016, he opened Chesa, specializing in paella and a loving tribute to his father, and 180, a churro bar next door. There’s no chef in Portland who values contact with his guests as much as Jose does, and so here’s an opportunity to experience that warmth in Jose’s homeland.
This trip takes place two days after our trip to Lyon with Chef Aaron Barnett of St. Jack and La Moule. We can help you coordinate the two journeys for a spectacular 19-day excursion with two of Portland’s best chefs! Or, the whole month of September: We’ll be in Italy starting September 3 with Chef Rick Gencarelli for a pizza and wine tour!
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Looking foward to seeing you on an upcoming or future trip!!
The Customized Journeys Team