A long weekend in the finest vineyards and at the best tables of Spain’s gourmet capital.
- STAY in a boutique hotel in the buzzing heart of the city
- FEAST late into the night on local produce at market stalls and in the city’s finest restaurants.
- EXPLORE ancient Toledo and El Escorial, the historic resting place of Spanish kings.
- MEET top class chefs, winelovers, and wine-makers.
- DRINK the best of Spanish wine, that’s never graced a British supermarket shelf.
From the minute you land in Madrid, we’ll take care of you, meeting you at the airport and taking you to your boutique hotel. From here, wander with your guide deep into the backstreets of the city to discover its hidden gourmet treasures. Visit the Mercado San Miguel, a veritable feast of sights, sounds, smells and tastes, where the Madrileños flock each weekend for a cerveza, a tapa and a spot of shopping. Munch your way through the best jamón and fish, fruit and vegetables, cheese and chocolates, and, of course, sample the wine and spirits of Madrid. In the evening you’ll meet Julian, at his wine school and bodega, who’ll teach us about Spanish wine, before we head on to dinner – a specially selected menu of regional tapas in one of Madrid’s most stylish new restaurants.
After yesterday’s wine class, this morning we’ll drive out to one of the newer vineyards that has sprung up on the tide of fine wine-making around Madrid. Francisco and Maite are passionate winemakers, and will guide us through the process of making natural, ecological wines, before lunch at the nearby castle. Afterwards we’ll dip our toes into some culture, with a short visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site, El Escorial- a vast complex including a monastery, a royal palace, and the historic burial place of the kings and queens of Spain. Here art, architecture, painting, and sculpture come together, all set amongst ravishing gardens. Dinner this evening will be at a small family-run Basque restaurant. With a fish-led menu and wines from the North, this is a favourite of Spanish fine dining, and epitomises Madrid’s love affair with Basque cuisine.
Today we’ll visit the ancient town of Toledo , another UNESCO site, known as “the City of Three Cultures” in reflection of its Christian, Jewish and Moorish history. Aimee will give you an orientation and tour of the beautiful historic centre, and arm you with a map as you head out to explore the sights at your leisure. She’ll also tempt your taste buds with recommendations for restaurants (including a place that serves steak with a Toledo steel sword through it), but remember to eat lightly, as tonight’s dinner is a particular treat. In the late afternoon, we’ll visit a traditional vineyard before heading back to Madrid. The wine here’s so good that some recent travellers bought a whole new suitcase so they could bring more home with them!
In the evening we’ve arranged a seven course dinner in one of Madrid’s finest restaurants, joined by Abraham, the legendary chef and owner. He’s not only an incredible cook but also a poet and philosopher, and has four books and two weekly blogs with a cult following in el Mundo, Spain’s foremost newspaper. A true original, not just in Madrid, but all of Spain!
Today’s a final chance to explore Madrid at your leisure. To end your gourmet adventure on a high, we’ve arranged a farewell lunch at one of Madrid’s best-known and most exclusive restaurants. This traditional family owned and run establishment is a home away from home for the local elite, and despite more than one international celebrity regularly dropping in, there’s a homey feel to accompany the rich and comforting menu. The speciality here is strips of steak that you cook yourself on a steaming ceramic plate at the table. A carnivore’s dream! After a long, leisurely meal, we’ll take you back to the airport for your flight home.
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