Chocolates, treats, and the sweet things in life

Spain

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Interested in interning in Spain at Michelin Star restaurants, Tapas Bars, Pastry Shops , check it out!  Visit e-Spain

Personal note:  This is an amazing opportunity that should not be passed by.  You will experience things that your average tourist could never see or do.   If you have never visited another country, this is the PERFECT opportunity for you.  You are with professionals who know the area and the people.  Every person who has done this trip has caught the travel bug and wants to experience new places.  Being a traveler makes you not only wiser, but more understanding of other people and their culture.  Basically, making you a better person.  If you love food, wine, history, and making new friends, this is the trip for you!

– Chef James Martin

Q & A

Where in Spain will we be going?

The trip is always different but mainly focuses on northern and central Spain.  We have spent time in Galicia, Asturias, and Cantabria regions of Spain, while visiting the beautiful towns of A Guarda, Llanes, Cangas De Onís and many more.  While in these specific regions, we focus on local cuisines, ciders, wines, and culture of the people who live there.  
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Valladolid is the former capitol of Spain, back in the days of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus.  Nowadays, it is the capitol of Tapas and a major area of modernist and traditional Spanish cuisine.  For much of the trip, it will be home base, and we will travel out from there.  While visiting Valladolid, the Fiesta de la Virgen de San Lorenzo is in full swing with Tapas stands everywhere, bands and DJ’s, and people partying till the wee hours of the morning.

There may be a night where we stay in a different town depending on what we do that day.  In the past we have visited Segovia, Salamanca, Burgos and many other small towns and cities with some of the best restaurants in the world.  We have visited underground wine cellars that date back to the days of the Crusades, major seafood producers with a feast to follow, cider specialist, wine makers, an amazing Fois producer and so much more!

When should I fly in?

Regardless, the bus will pick you up on the designated day of the beginning of the tour.  I normally will fly in two days before the journey just to acclimate and because I love Madrid.  If you wish to fly in early, I will be more than happy to give you recommendations on where to stay and perhaps meet you at the airport and help you find your way around.  Within reason, of course.

Can I bring a significant other?

Actually, yes.  BUT this person will have to remain on the tour with us.  They must stick with the group and not wander off to do their own thing while we are on the tour.  They will need to sign up on their own, you cannot fill out the application for two people.   I recommend this person be interested in food, be willing to see where it comes from, and have an open mind about traveling.

With that said, I do not recommend this person be someone you met last weekend and you believe they are “the one”. 

What is the food like?

If you are willing to try new and exciting things, you will have the time of your life!  If you are a very picky person, then you will be really missing out.  Have an open mind and be prepared to try anything.  The Spanish eat lots of meat, including pork (a lot of it), beef, horse, and fish (seafood). When signing up for the tour, you will be asked if you are allergic to any food items, lactose intolerant, have gluten allergies, or if you are vegetarian.  If you are vegetarian, the chefs will do their best to accommodate your needs.  If you are Vegan, you may have a hard time. 

The Spanish blood sausage, Morcilla, is one of the best things on Earth and definitely worth a try.

The meals are normally accompanied with water and wine.  The legal drinking age in Spain is 18, but it comes down to being smart.

Is Spain expensive? 

Spain is actual one of the cheapest countries to visit in the European Union. The €uro is not as strong in Spain as in Germany or France due to their economic standing.  Because of this, you will see the word “Rebajas” (sale) on many store fronts.  The good news is you can eat amazing food for such a great price.  You can get a Latte (cafe con leche), a croissant, and a juice for 3€.  It would cost you $12 at your local coffee shop.  That is just a small example compared to what you would experience.

What do I wear?

The weather in August and September is much like Seattle.  Can be very warm, but it is wise to bring a light jacket.  Casual clothes, comfortable shoes, but also bring some nice clothes.  We will be eating at some very nice restaurants and you do not want to look as if you are there to mow the lawn.

Do I need to know Spanish?

As with visiting any foreign country, it is good to know a little of the language.  “Numbers, greetings, thanks” are always a good way to shine, but if you don’t speak any Spanish, you will do fine.  The Spanish like to see how far your knowledge of their language goes but will not ridicule you for not speaking it fluently.  They are friendly, understanding, and will do their best to help you.  Normally on the trip, we will always have a translator available to the group, but on your own, well, you’re on your own.  Contrary to popular belief, speaking English slow and loud does not work.  I will make a sheet of useful phrases and words for those who wish, but may I also recommend Rick Steve’s Spanish book. Works for me!

Is Spain safe?

I have never had a problem in Spain.  I have walked all over many of these towns and cities and have never felt anything but safe.  Spaniards like to go out late and normally don’t return home until the wee hours of the morning.  Spain, and most of Europe, is a very open and welcoming of LGBTQ as well. 

With that being said, it is still wise not to be flashing around big bills or be loose with your wallet/purse.  Common sense is always a powerful tool.

Below is a slide show of the most previous trip along with photos showcasing just a touch of what we have seen and done.

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