Savory Basque Country - France / Spain

Savory Basque Country – France / Spain

One of the best cuisines in the world

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Basque cooking enjoys a reputation for being one of the best cuisines in the world. Indulge in Basque charcuterie, farmstead sheep’s milk cheese as well as the many outstanding wines of the region. Picnicking in the garden with Marketplace delicacy’s and cooking in one of the world’s most reputable Cooking Schools will be part of your dream come true.

Straddling two nations on the Atlantic Coast — stretching about 100 miles from Bilbao, Spain, north to Bayonne, France lays the ancient, free-spirited land of the Basques. The Basque Country is famous for its food, beaches and modern architecture…and for its feisty, industrious people. It’s also simply beautiful: Bright white chalet-style homes with deep-red and green shutters scatter across lush, rolling hills; the Pyrenees Mountains soar high above the Atlantic and are breathtaking. We will visit both the French and Spanish side some with modern flair other areas so very traditional. The entire region is colorful, fun and welcoming and demands the exploration we will give it.


St. Jean de Luz:

Day 1
Arrive in the charming fishing port of St. Jean De Luz on the French Basque coast. Check in to the centrally located Hotel La Deviniere, a most elegant and charming private hotel owned by the president of the Slow Food Movement in the Basque area. After a walk along the historic port, we’ll dine at a favorite traditional Basque Restaurant featuring fresh locally caught seafood, charcuterie, and local Basque wines.

Friday, May 3rd
Our private coach picks us up for a full day in the bright green hills of the western Pyrenees, the picturesque Basque Country farms and the villages of Espelette, Cambo de Baines and Ascain. This is the Pilgrim’s Route that people walk across the mountains and on to Western Spain along le chemin de Saint Jacques.

We’ll visit some of the top food producers of the area: Cambo les Bains for a chocolate museum and tasting, Espelette to taste peppers, artisan saucisson from the producers, and will enjoy lunch before a tour of the traditional fabrics of the Basque region. We will return to our little village by 6:00 to freshen up, have a glass of wine. Then, off to a wonderful dinner at one of the most famous restaurants in a historical building filled with charm.

Day 2

What better way to discover an area than by its food? Discover the Basque Country at the Market Hall. On our morning destination, we will shop for a garden lunch at the Inn. Gateau Basque, sheep’s cheese, jambon de Bayone and Txacoli white wines. We’ll explore the historic monuments built for the marriage of Louis the Fourteenth to the Infanta of Spain, Maria Theresa including the beautiful Baroque Church in the heart of St. Jean de Luz. Our afternoon will be free for shopping, a beach visit or wine in a small sidewalk café. Wine in the garden if you wish before our dinner.

We will enjoy a fabulous dinner filled with the freshest seafood of the region at a Michelin Star Restaurant, the finale to our charming seaside village.

San Sebastian/Donostia

Day 3
This morning we will have a private bus from our accommodation in St Jean de Luz to the 5-Star Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian.

Welcome to San Sebastian and the Southern Basque Countries! Voted European Cultural Capital of the year, Donostia (San Sebastian’s Basque name) is a beautiful, small city wrapped around the shell-shaped bay La Concha. From our centrally located luxury hotel, you can explore on foot, by bike or taxi to all of the city’s great shopping. If food is the way to the heart, then the kitchen is the way to the soul. We will do it like the Basque.

Cider holds a prized spot in any Basque’s glass, and our private visit to a cider house is where you will experience this incredibly unique sip of Basque culture. We visit an authentic cider house, whose walls are lined with barrels of freshly fermented cider, waiting to be tapped whenever thirst strikes. We will feast family style, on chorizo a la sidra, a Spanish omelet with salt cod, sweet peppers and onions, and txuleta (grilled bone-in prime rib cooked over an open fire). The meal is always punctuated with laughs and unlimited visits to the cider barrels.

Tonight we will enjoy a  Pintxo tasting tour. Pintxos (Basque tapas) line every bar in San Sebastian’s famed Old Town, but knowing where to find the best ones is an art. While it’s hard to have a bad meal in town, knowing exactly where to go for the best, freshest, and most exciting pintxos takes local, insider knowledge. We dive straight into the culinary heart of the city for a night of eating and drinking unlike any you’ve ever experienced.

Day 4
We’ll leave for a special day in Getaria, south along the picturesque coast and visit the Balenciaga Museum, then stroll the one street fishing village before our lunch.

Our lunch will be at one of my favorite restaurants with a sensational view and a superb meal to match. The coastal drive is breathtaking as we return to San Sebastian mid-afternoon. This time is for resting, shopping or visiting the ice cream shops.

Our evening will be full of Wine and Pintxo with the experts!

Day 5

Our morning will feature an exciting and educational Basque cooking class at the famous MIMO San Sebastian Food Kitchens. The sea and the mountains surrounding the Basque capitals are rife with ancient traditions and the freshest of ingredients. In this culinary class journey, you will learn to prepare the famous Basque dishes from both the coastal fishing villages and the mountains. We will bring the history and traditions of Basque Country to life in this hands-on cooking class. Class ends with a full and delicious lunch. Late afternoon is free for shopping or exploring the town.

In the evening we will enjoy Cocktails and Tapas at the Maria Christina Bette Davis Bar or one of my favorite tapas bars. Outside dining for our final night is the weather offers a glorious evening.

Day 6 is also a bonus day or two, if you choose.
Janice will offer an additional day trip to the famous Rioja region with our guide.

You can be returned to San Sebastian or have an overnight and additional day in Bilboa with Janice.

Let me know if you are interested in additional Rioja wine tour with additional cost.

General Information/Terms and Conditions


Medical Conditions: If you or any member of your party suffers from any physical challenge or medical condition, you must check with your doctor about the advisability of traveling and you must make this known to us before you book. We will make reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of our tour participants, but the Savory Spoon Cooking School is not responsible for denial of services by carriers, hotels, restaurants or other independent suppliers. Guests should be able to comfortably walk at least one mile a day on ground that is uneven and cobblestoned.

Itinerary Modifications: Every effort will be made to adhere to the published itinerary. However, the Program Director reserves the right to change the itinerary for reasons beyond our control. The Program Director also reserves the right to decline to accept any person for any reason, or to remove from the program, any person engaged in illegal or disruptive behavior. Rates are based on a minimum group of eight (8), current tariffs and exchange rates, and are subject to change.

We reserve the right to cancel this tour at any time for any reason. If Program Director and Savory Spoon Cooking School decide to cancel this program, we will fully reimburse balance paid to date.

Responsibility: Program Director is responsible for the services provided. However, in the absence of negligence on their part, Program Director and other associated agents are not responsible for accidents, loss, detention, annoyance, sickness, loss of enjoyment, upset or disappointment, weather, delays and expenses arising from same; strikes, armed conflict, force major, failure of transportation to arrive or depart as scheduled, quarantines, disturbances, restrictions or regulations, discontinuance of advertised schedules, refusals to issue visas, and other causes over which we have no control. All services are subject to the laws of the country in which they are rendered.

Insurance: We highly suggest all participants have medical insurance on our tours as well as trip cancellation and Interruption Insurance. If tour were to cancel, participants will be notified 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Policy: Refund considered only if we can fill your place.

Booking Conditions:

  • We invite you to join us, and invite your best friend or partner.
  • We will be a small group of no more than 10, so early sign up is suggested.
  • Room styles are given on a first sign up preference.
  • Due to unforeseeable circumstances, it may sometimes be necessary to alter the scheduled activities or itinerary.
  • All efforts will be made to keep any changes to a minimum and, where they are necessary, to make alternative arrangements which are of an equally high quality.

The Savory Spoon Cooking School and Janice Thomas are not responsible for any injury, loss or damage to person or property while guests are in route to and from or while on this culinary trip or participating in any of our activities.
Cancellation Policy: Refund considered only if we can fill your place. We highly recommend Travel Insurance, which is valuable planning. Ask your travel agent when planning your flight:
MedJet Assist: MedjetAssist is a membership program that arranges air-medical transport to the member’s hospital of choice within their home country.

Janice Thomas

Chef JaniceJanice owns the Savory Spoon Cooking School in Ellison Bay WI, established in 2004, and is known for her personal approach to cooking, creating memories with every recipe. She is the primary cooking instructor at the Savory Spoon and a Culinary Guide in Mexico, France, Italy and China. Traveling with her students gives her creative and imaginative cultural ideas to share with her students year after year. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Women Chefs of America and has over 25 years of experience in the culinary world. Janice invites you to join her and indulge yourself in an unforgettable experience.

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