a chef needs help touring spain!
anybody out there travelled to spain for 'serious' food and wine study? I am a professional chef looking to visit spain and want to get more than just a tour-type spanish experience. Any insight would be fantastic. Thanks in advance.
Hi Ryan. Thanks for replying to my post. Here are some things I am hoping to do in Spain:
visit an olive oil company, preferrably artisan
vist an iberico ham producer, again preferrably artisan
visit a cheese factory
have dinner with a gastronomic society
visit jerez for an in-depth tour of sherry (i am a sommelier)
visit the various wine regions of priorat, la rioja, and ribera del duero
whew! as i mentioned earlier, I am a professional chef. i recently won a grant from the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation, which I want to use in Spain. My intent is to tour/taste/document/participate in as many artisan or traditional food/wine related activities as possible. I checked out/signed up for your website at catavino, which is very knowledgeable. Meeting in BCN would be fantastic. We are still deciding exactly when we will be there, certainly in the Spring. I look forward to hearing from you.
It's great that you are connecting with people in Barcelona, and I am sure you have restaurants you are already planning to try there, but here are my suggestions for restaurants in Barcelona and elsewhere in northern Spain. Cinq sentits was very nice, but Alkimia was even better. La Dama was a wonderful surprise. Traditional Catalan food of the highest caliber. I had the best stuffed pigs feet I have ever tasted, and the cannneloni, langoustine salad, and lobster paella were also wonderful. lThe 3 michelin star El Raco de Can Fabes in Sant Celoni is spectacular, possibly the best restaurant in Spain. As a sommelier you may especially apppreciate the sommelier there, who seemed to me to be extremely knowledgeable. It was an unforgettable experience. If you go for dinner you should plan to stay the night. The restaurant has rooms which are unnnecessarily expensive, so you should stay at the hotel Suis, which is very nice and much cheaper, and only 2 blocks from the restaurant.
If you can get to San Sebastian, you should try Arzak and Akelare, both Michelin 3-stars. Akelare is the more cutting edge, experimental one, Arzak more updated classics, but really well-executed. Interesting to be able to compare the different techniques.
If you can get to Pamplona, try Rodero which has a Michelin star, and the food is so good I felt that it was as good as the 3-star places. The 6 course menu was only 49 euros, and it was just about the tastiest food I have ever eaten.
I hope you have a nice time and get some great ideas.
Echaurren in Ezcaray has great traditional Basque food (when you tire of foams!), Marixa in Laguardia has solid traditional food and a great view, Etxeberri in Axpe is all the rage at the moment for grilled food (if you can find it that is!), Casa Ojeda in Burgos has charm and a happy vibe. You may tire of grilled lamb or pork eventually (we were there for three weeks, so we certainly did), but they cook it like no other place on the planet.
I recommend the restaurant El Raco d'en Tomas in Terrassa, near Barcelona. In Barcelona city you should go to El Raco d'en Freixa.
I hope you have a nice time.