Archive for the ‘food’ Category

While culinary culture was always there as a side benefit, it has developed to the new reason why we’re traveling. And where can you have better food holidays than in the food mecca Spain – a country full with different flavors, delicious food, great restaurants and the famous local markets?

Gastronomy markets in Spain have always been the epicenter of civic life and a labyrinth of the freshest fruits, vegetable, meat and fishes. Hosted in historic buildings in the heart of the cities, some markets are no longer only offering local products but have developed to outstanding culinary experiences with a great variety of gourmet and crafts options and sometimes even live music. With their great culinary diversity, they are also the perfect food supplier for better restaurants in Spain.


La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, (source: SuiteLife)

Gastronomy markets are a great way to get an insight into the food traditions of Spain. Sip a beer at the market of San Miguel, explore the wonderful market of Chamberí or stand around at the trendy food market San Anton to experience Madrid’s most popular and unique markets.

Market of San Miguel belongs to the gastronome of San Miguel society whose aim is to improve the traditional activity. La Boquería of Barcelona used as inspiration, the market focuses on high quality products, seasonal food and offering samples.


Market of San Miguel in Madrid, (source: Spain Attractions)

The traditional market Chamberí, which has been operating for almost 70 years, is one of Madrid’s best known markets due to its great quality and variety of products. While it started as a food market, it has been modernized and features now also other services.

The biggest market in Madrid Maravillas is known for its fresh products which are great presented and of high quality. Maravillas is not only outstanding because of its architecture, numerous facilities and professional treatments by its merchant but also because the focus lays on developing eco-sustainable products.

The recently inaugurated San Antón Market in the heart of Chueca represents a new generation of markets with its recycling system. Spreading across three floors and focusing on perishable goods, wine, takeaway services and restaurant areas, the market is an absolute highlight.


San Antón Market, (source: Pinterest)

Covered in high quality and well known markets, Barcelona is the perfect city to get back to basics and shop the old fashioned way at gastronomy markets. With markets such as Fira Artesana, Santa Caterina market and the famous La Boqueria market, the city offers a great variety and something for everybody.

Fira Artesana opens its doors on the first Friday and Saturday of every month and is specialized in homegrown and homemade products. With its nickname “the honey market”, it has turned into a small jewel of Barcelona.


Santa Caterina Market, (source: BarcelonaHome)

As the first permanent covered market in Barcelona, Santa Caterina market is not only of great historic importance but also the perfect place to shop fresh fish, meat and delicious pastries. Moreover, the market features several restaurants to enjoy a beer with tapas, a perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon.

La Boqueria market, one of the most prestigious markets in the world, is an official landmark of Barcelona with over 800 years of history. The famous market is always busy and a hotspot for tourists as it offers everything a heart desires.


La Boqueria Market, (source: Suites Life)

Known as the centers of gastronomy markets, Barcelona and Madrid feature the most famous food markets in Spain. However, other markets such as the central market in Valencia, the famous La Bretxa in San Sebastian and the gourmet market Lonja del Barranco in Sevilla are also must-see’s for food lovers. Experience a culinary journey through Spain and learn why Spanish food markets are treats for everybody when booking a gastronomy tour with us!


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Spain has so much to offer, it’s a country full of traditions and gastronomy is one of them.
It is a fact that Spain is known for its tapas (small portions of fresh regional and local dishes based on meat or fish and other unique ingredients), but the gastronomy in Spain has been on a culinary high in recent years, more and more restaurants are receiving Michelin stars.


tapas selection (source: San Sebastian Turismo)

Spain has now 182 restaurants included in the Michelin guide: nine restaurants with three stars, 23 with two stars and 150 with one Michelin star. As an example, Madrid boasts 14 restaurants with Michelin stars, DiverXO being the only one with three stars.

The Basque Country is a region blessed by Michelin stars. Especially San Sebastian features various gastronomic highlights. Three of nine three Michelin stars restaurants of Spain can be found in this city. This fact makes San Sebastian the city with the most Michelin stars per square meter in the world. The four most starred restaurants in San Sabastian are: Akelarre (***), Arzak (***), Martín Berasategui (***) and Mugarritz (**).

This year, the chef Martín Berasategui has received three Michelin stars for one of his restaurants for the second time. It happened for the first time in the country’s history. He is the ninth chef in Spain to be granted the illustrious Michelin ranking. The Spanish chef has a total of eight Michelin stars, making him the most decorated chef in Spain.


chef Martín Berasategui (source: Castellon en fiestas)

Moreover, the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona has three Michelin stars. The three Roca brothers are fond of cooking, they decided to open a restaurant specialized in traditional Catalan cooking. In 2013 and 2015, their restaurant was named the world’s best restaurant.


the Roca brothers (source: El Celler Can Roca)


El Celler Can Roca restaurant (source: Gastroeconomy)



Madrid, San Sebastian and Girona

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Olive oil is deeply rooted in the Spanish history and culture. It is known that the olive tree was brought to the Peninsula by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. Later, the Romans and Arabs improved the techniques of production. As a result of a stable, thousand-year-old tradition, today Spain is the major producer and exporter of olive oil in the world.


extra virgin olive oil (source: Diario ABC) 

The olive harvesting season starts around the end of November and the olive oil production mainly takes place during the winter months, from November to March. If you decide to visit Spain during these months, it is the perfect opportunity to learn about the world of olive oil.

Andalusia is the largest olive oil producer in Spain as well as full of cultural heritage sites. So why not combine a cultural and gastronomic tour?


olive harvesting (source: Junta de Andalucia)

Visit Sevilla, the artistic, cultural and financial capital of Andalucia. The city is a historical hub, well known for its Muslim heritage and its gastronomy. Spend some time visiting the ancient “El Vinculo” mill and taste the olive oil that is produced there in a guided tasting tour. This olive oil mill was built in 1755 and until today it produces extra virgin olive oil in the traditional way.

Granada, once the capital of the Moorish kingdom, houses the most known Spanish monument: Alhambra Palace and the Generalife Gardens. While visiting this historical city, step by the Almazara Nuñez de Prado olive oil mill. This mill is run by the 7th generation of the Nuñez Prado family and it is housed in a traditional Andalusian farmstead building. It counts with an oil storage room that keeps the oil in the original jars from the 18th century.

Finally, Jaen is the olive oil region by excellence. Its landscape is marked by olive oil trees and as soon as you enter the province, you can smell the characteristic smell of them. the extremely fine quality of extra virgin olive oil produced in Jaén, results from practices passed down through generations of olive farmers, refining the art of virgin oil extraction. In Jaen, you can visit the olive oil visitor centre. it offers tours to introduce visitors to every aspect of olive oil production. the itinerary takes in everything, from the olive groves through to the actual production process of the olive oil, and explores its history, its relation with local gastronomy and its numerous health benefits.


castle, Jáen Province (source: Junta de Andalucia)

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In the month of November, the Spanish cities start to prepare for Christmas and the most festive season of the year. During this time, the shopping centres, shop windows and streets are decorated with lights and various types of Christmas decorations. In addition, the stores are filled with toys and presents and the best Christmas offers start to be available. This season is without doubts one of the best and most interesting ones to visit Spanish cities during the colder months.

The most typical Spanish Christmas decoration is probably the nativity scene that represents the birth of Jesus Christ and is a Catholic tradition. As well as the typical Christmas tree, the nativity scene can be found at homes, shops, churches and on the streets, where it is sometimes even represented by real persons and animals. A famous example is the nativity scene at Plaza del Pilar in Zaragoza that is set up next to the cathedral.

During the Christmas season, many Spanish cities offer special winter activities for locals and visitors. The popular Christmas markets, full of delicious snacks and handicrafts, can be found in places like Plaza Mayor in Madrid, in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, at Plaza Nueva in Sevilla and Calle Bailén in Bilbao.

Furthermore, ice-skating rinks are becoming more popular every year. If you are looking for a break from your Christmas shopping, ice skating could be a great option. The ice rinks normally are decorated in a very beautiful and festive way. Some examples are the ice rinks at Plaza de Colon in Madrid, at Plaza de Ayuntamiento in Alicante and at Plaza de Ayuntamiento in Valencia, the most famous one.

Of course, Christmas season would not be the same without the numerous typical delicacies. One of the most famous Spanish Christmas sweets is turrón, an almond-based nougat. The nougat comes in all sorts of varieties, from the classic Jijona and Alicante turrón, to toasted egg yolk or chocolate turrón. There are some shops that are specialized in turrón, like Casa Mira in Madrid. Here, all the products are still handmade, using the finest ingredients in the traditional way without preservatives or artificial colourings.


turrón (source: Turismo de Jijona)

Other traditional sweets are marzipan, polvorones (soft and very crumbly Spanish shortbread with nuts), roscos de vino (a type of donut with wine, lemon zest and sesame), mantecados (a sweet pastry made with lard, mixed with ingredients like cinnamon, almonds, chocolate or lemon) and peladillas (sugar-coated almond dragees). A very traditional store, where you can find any type of sweets is Casa Gispert, which is one of the oldest food stores in Barcelona. Its speciality has always been the same: roasted nuts, and its wood fire oven is Europe’s oldest, still-functioning roaster.


marzipan (source: Turismo de Jijona)

A part of the Spanish Christmas season is also New Year’s Eve. This night is celebrated with parties and fireworks together with the family or friends. The highlight of the night occurs at 23h59, when everyone follows the twelve strikes of the bells, officially transmitted by television from Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Every strike is accompanied by eating a “lucky grape”. According to traditions this will lead to a year of prosperity. If you spend this night in Spain, you should not miss this special tradition.

Finally, the Christmas season in Spain ends on 6 January with the Día de los Reyes Magos, the Three Kings’ Day. On 5 January, most Spanish cities organize colourful parades, mainly directed to children, to celebrate the arrival of the three kings. During the parade, sweets are thrown to the children. This night is a very exciting night for Spanish children as they leave their polished shoes together with food and milk for the kings and their camels. The next day their presents appear under their shoes and the food is gone. On this day it is also a tradition to eat the roscón de reyes, a toroid shaped cake, decorated with dried candied fruits and filled with cream or chocolate.

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the Basque city San Sebastian has a lot to offer for both, locals and visitors that are looking for culinary specialties. besides many markets with local products and numerous pintxo and txakoli wine bars, the city offers you a remarkable number of Michelin star restaurants – a perfect mix, if you seek special gastronomic experiences.


San Sebastián (Source: San Sebastián Turismo)

pintxos are the Basque version of tapas – small snacks that are offered in bars or taverns, often presented on top of the counter. the main difference to tapas is that pintxos are normally served on a skewer on top of a piece of bread. they are typical for the Basque Country and in San Sebastian you can find pintxos in every bar, especially around the old town. you should not miss to try them! some nice places to try pintxos in San Sebastian are the pintxo bars Gandarias and Astelehena. typical pintxos include seafood or fish like cod or anchovies, tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) or stuffed peppers.

we recommend to accompany the delicious Basque food with a typical Basque beverage – txakoli wine. this is a sparkling, dry and fruity white wine with moderate alcohol content. normally served as an aperitif, it is also a perfect accompaniment to pintxos. the txakoli wine is served cold and from a height, so the aroma can develop perfectly, when the beverage splashes into the typical tall glasses. to discover more about the txakoli wine production, it’s a good idea to visit a txakoli winery in the surroundings of San Sebastian, where you will be introduced into the production process and, of course, can taste the txakoli wine on site.

San Sebastian also offers you very special and high end cuisine. the city’s 9 Michelin star restaurants have received a total of 16 Michelin stars. all of them offer you very special gourmet moments. a very nice restaurant to visit is Akelarre, one of the few Spanish three star restaurants, which is located on the side of Monte Igeldo hill, overlooking the Bay of Biscay. this location lets you relish the cuisine – a mix of tradition, vanguard and haute cuisine – while enjoying stunning views of the sea and the bay.



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