Gastronomy & Wines

BASQUE CUISINE & RIOJA WINES.

About Basque Cuisine…

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Basque country is quite characteristic of Northern Spain in that its green hills meet the Atlantic Ocean.  But that is where the similarity ends.  The Basque are a distinct race whose roots are unknown, even its language Euskera bears no resemblance to any others in Europe.   The Basque Country or Euskadi is an important industrial area with Bilbao being the leading industrial center.  The Basques are great deep-sea fisherman and fish has occupied a major role in their imaginative cuisine considered by many as the best in Spain. Seafood such as the spider crab, scallops and mussels are found in abundance here on the northern coast of Spain.  The Basque fish for cod in the chilly waters near the Artic which is then salted and sold in the rest of Spain as bacalao.

The traditional Basque cuisine is neither elite nor complex nor elaborate, but rather a relatively simple cuisine one which enjoys a surprisingly strong root amongst the common people.  It can reach similar heights of exquisiteness in the finest restaurants, in the gastronomic societies called Txokos or in the humblest of hearths.  Its strength lies in the quality of the produce and the essential concept of cooking el punto or when the food is just right.  As the sea has always been more generous than the earth in the Basque Country, except for a few valleys in Guipuzkoa and Vizcaya, it is not surprising that seafood is the star ingredient, although meats

Such as beef, lamb, pork and poultry play no less important roles.  The fish most widely used in Basque cuisine are hake and cod while sea-bass, bonito, shellfish and baby eels known as angulas are also quite common.  Despite the harsh terrains found here, vegetables such as haricot beans, broad beans (both fresh and dried), peas, chard leaves, caldoon to name a few.  Capsicums and hot peppers are used extensively in this cuisine.  The reigning fruit in this cuisine is without a doubt apple, which is roasted, baked in delicious pastries, made into compotes and ciders.

 

La Rioja Wines & Restaurants

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The quality of the wine is what has made La Rioja a household name. Its Denomination of Origin, famous world-wide, includes white and rosé wines but it is the excellent red wines which are most appreciated. These are aged in barrels called “barricas” to produce “crianzas” (matured for at least two years) and “reservas” (matured for at least three years) which, whether they are from Rioja Alta, Alavesa or Rioja Baja, obtain magnificent levels of quality. The Traveller can taste wine and traditional Riojan food at the restaurant Echaurren, which has been awarded two suns by the CAMPSA Guide. A former sentry post which has been reformed and converted into the main point of reference when it comes to regional cuisine.

 

Magic Andalusia

Andalusia… a land of bullfights and flamenco, of white towns, beautiful horses, and romance. It is the region that most people associate with their idea of Spain. The cuisine is simple, relying on the fresh ingredients that are produced in this area. From Jerez, come giant shrim and delicious seafood. From the mountains, come game, lamb and fowl. Then there are the olives, the oranges, pine nuts, tomatoes, wine and of course, sherry.

Gazpacho is one of Andalusia´s best-known dishes. Tapas is a ritual and was probably created in Southern Spain. Each tapas bar has its own speciality; some of the Seville specialities include pringa (a stew of vegetables, pork and sausage), espinacas con garbanzos (refried chickpeas and spinach), and pavias (strips of salt cod fried in olive oil).

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We invite to taste and discover Southern Spain on a six-night culinary tour.

 

Together with international travel experts,  group leaders and tour operators  we had been  working with different types of groups  every time since 1995. We are always focus on the  individuality of each group as each tour is designed individually.

As professional organizers of  group tours, we expect you will like to read more about the ideas we can  work together with you for your future group travel to Spain, Portugal or Morocco and come to us with a list of specifications to be quoted.

(*) Olespaintours (  formerly Ole Spain Tours ) is a licensed receptive travel agent and DMC based in Madrid (Spain) that had been  working  on  custom group tours since 1995.

Contact us for more information