Embark on a gastronomic journey through Spain’s best culinary experiences, where each mouthful is a revelation of rich flavour and centuries-old tradition.
Undulating vineyards cascade over rolling hills, the sun’s warmth caresses your back, and as your lips meet the rim of a glass brimming with malvasia, the undeniable essence of Spain’s Canary Islands envelops you. In Tenerife, the terroir unfurls its story – volcanic soil, a balmy climate, meticulous farming practices, and embracing the North Atlantic Ocean coalesce within each glass. It’s no wonder that these wines garnered acclaim as far back as the 16th century, with even Shakespeare extolling their virtues in his timeless plays. Today, Spain’s unique wines and diverse, flavoursome food leave lasting impressions on those who visit, and the culinary experiences hidden off the beaten path continue to surprise.
Culinary experiences on the Spanish Islands
Lanzarote, another gem in the Canary Islands, nurtures its grapes in a manner unparalleled elsewhere on Earth – vine roots delve 10 metres into volcanic sands. The outcome mirrors Tenerife’s, as the wines eloquently express the essence of their terroir. Embark on the island’s wine route to local bodegas, where, first-hand, you will witness the craftsmanship of the process of producing Spain’s best culinary experiences.
On Formentera in the Balearic Islands, a devotion to slow food has been so profound that it earned the coveted ‘Arca del gusto’ distinction from the International Slow Food Organisation. Enhance your foodie experience by roaming the region guided by the Slow Food map, and savour time-honoured Spanish recipes like frit de pop (fried octopus), calamars a la bruta (squid fried in its ink) and flao (a mint-infused fresh cheesecake).
Culinary experiences in Northern Spain
While Navarre might be affectionately termed the tranquil province of Spain, its culinary and vinicultural journey suggests a different narrative for its locals. This autonomous northern realm is punctuated by mediaeval villages and venerable castles. Bordered by the Pyrenean mountain range, and graced with luxuriant rainforests, profound valleys and crystalline rivers, the abundance and freshness of the produce is a given. The western Pyrenees boast mastery over river trout, and any local will affirm the must-try status of culinary experiences such as Cordero al chilindrón (lamb stew) in Pamplona, the succulent pork or roast suckling pig from Estella, and the cherries from Ciriza.
In Galicia, gastronomy is elevated to an art form, evident through more than 300 annual gastronomic celebrations. In the coastal haven of Vigo, spend your day aboard a fishing vessel with locals, culminating in a feast featuring your own catch: crayfish, scallops, bueyes de mar (giant crabs), lobsters, oysters, mussels and octopus.
Journey northeast to Asturias, where you can complement this epicurean adventure with sips of the region’s renowned cider while cycling the 45-kilometre circular trail from Nava, traversing quaint villages, rainforests and the Piloña River.
Culinary experiences in Southern Spain
Spain reigns as the world’s foremost olive oil exporter, and here, the experience of sipping and savouring is akin to that of refined wine tasting. In Extremadura, a region adorned with the country’s finest Roman ruins, a visit to Cáceres presents the opportunity to sample an impressive array of more than 150 distinct extra virgin olive oils – and even craft your own blend. It’s an unmissable culinary experience.
Journey onwards to Andalusia, the global epicentre of olive oil production, where a horse-drawn carriage ride unveils the beauty of an olive farm before beckoning you to retreat to one of the many spas and wellness retreats for olive oil-infused massages and treatments.
This article was produced with content supplied by the Spain Tourism Board and originally appeared in volume 46 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Be the first to see exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter below.