Traveling Through the Land of the Conquistadores 11

An immersion in Spanish gastronomy

The delightful tastings of the most exclusive products prepared by those who have dedicated their entire life, from generation to generation, to excel in what they do, transports the traveler to a new world of sensations. In a 10-day, 760-mile road trip in Spain, guided by the experts, the traveler will experience total cultural immersion during the most exclusive and unique gastro tour around the land of the Conquistadors. After the great reviews received from previous tours, organizers of this incredible adventure are putting together the fourth tour of its kind, now made available in Newport Beach.

Starting with tapas and beer in the vibrant city of Madrid, the gastro-tourist will travel to Salamanca to experience the production of iberico, a rare breed of pig found only in Spain. The Fermin Estate in La Alberca, Salamanca, pioneer of the artisanal production of iberico ham worldwide, has been producing the highest quality pork products in the world since 1956. From there, the group continues on to a wine, olive oil and vinegar tasting at the Valdueza Estate Castle in Avila and dinner at the two-star Michelin restaurant Atrio.

The next day, participants will visit the old Roman town of Merida in the region of Badajoz to enjoy a traditional Portuguese recipe, bacalhau dourado–salt cod with scrambled eggs, onion, garlic and potatoes–sampled and accompanied by white wine and pastelillos do Belem, a pastry to be enjoyed with port wine.

After a short drive, participants will visit the Eduardo Sousa Estate, La Pateria, renowned for the making of goose foie gras without gavage (force-feeding the geese). La Pateria de Sousa was awarded the Coup de Coeur award in 2006 at the Salon International d’Alimentation in Paris. Sousa distributes his world-famous goose foie gras under the brand Sousa & Labourdette. Here, the gastro-tourist will enjoy a night of flamenco as well.

The trip continues with a tasting at the winery Viña Santa Marina, located in what at one time was the property of the Roman general Marcus Nonius Macrinus, the inspiration for the fictitious character Máximus Decimus Meridius, played by Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator. Other unforgettable experiences in the gastro tour include a cheese workshop at the creamery Mamá Cabra and a unique cooking class with Chef Soledad Ortega.

At the Pascualete Estate in Trujillo, participants will spend the night, enjoy history and learn about the production of cheese. American Aline Griffith, journalist and model, was sent to Spain as a U.S. intelligence agent in WWII. There she married the wealthy Conde de Romanones, owner of the Pascualete estate, and, as Countess, rebuilt the medieval palace into a hospitable country home.

As the trip draws to an end, the group will enjoy a relaxing and indulging experience at Valle del Jerte Spa, while learning about the production of cherry liqueur. The day ends with dinner at the Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant La Garza Real.

The tour ends at Villanueva de la Vera, Caceres, with an introduction to the production of Spanish paprika. The gastronomy of the region is characterized by genuine flavors and simple preparation, reflecting the city’s proximity to rural Spain. Dishes include migas, a rustic fry of breadcrumbs, garlic, bacon, chorizo and peppers, and lamb caldereta, a shepherd’s dish flavored with rich and smoky pimentón de La Vera–paprika, the star spice of Extremadura. While paprika became common across Europe, in Spain the peppers stayed put. In fact, they barely ventured outside the confines of the Yuste Monastery in the same region of La Vera. Five hundred years later, the same order of monks is still making some of the most coveted pimentón in all of Spain.

Traveling today means long lines, bad meals at restaurants and mass tourism spoiling once hidden treasures. 
This gastro tour offers an exclusive and first-class alternative focused on the discovery of hidden cultural jewels.

Meet the Experts

Ana Cereijo, a Spaniard from Toledo with 25 years of experience in finance, worked with the Spanish government preparing small and medium size companies to go global. John Cancilla, a Southern Californian native living in Spain since 1987, has been a consultant for the Spanish government since 1996. They are the founders of this extraordinarily unique gastro-tour adventure that will transport you back to the times and land of the conquistadors.

The tour runs from October 3 to October 10, 2016, and can only accommodate 15 people. To book this amazing tour of gastronomy 
and history, please call for more information at 949.344.2402 or email us at ALaunes@LifestylePubs.com.