Thursday, March 2, 2017

Northern Spain Food & Wine Tour

Trip date: October 2015

Sometimes it takes me a really long time to write about one of my adventures, not because I don't have much to say about a place, but in fact the opposite. I've had so much to say about the amazing Northern Spain trip I took in the fall of 2015, I haven't known where to start. How time flies!

Judy, a friend who I met many years ago on told me about a 10-day tour of Northern Spain that another eGullet online friend John Sconzo was organizing with Gerry Dawes, a Spanish wine importer. The trip would start on the far west coast in Galicia and travel east to the Basque region before ending in Madrid. I absolutely loved the parts of Northern Spain I'd been to in the past and was eager to experience more of the food and wine of the area, so Judy and I decided to join and be roommates.

I flew from Seattle to Atlanta where I met Judy in the airport before we boarded our flight to Madrid. We got very lucky and had the center 3 seats with the middle one free so we got to spread out and get a little sleep on the way over. We landed as the sun was rising, went through customs, rechecked our bags and waited to meet John. We met another of our tour mates, Beth, at the gate and the four of us flew on to Vigo.

From here we were met at the airport by Gerry and our minivan driver Antonio who from that day forward was always there to load up our luggage and other souvenirs we would buy along the way. The van could sit at least 20 and there were just 9 of us so we had plenty of space to stretch out as we made our way across the country.

From Vigo we drove to our first destination of Pontevedra, a charming town with a wonderful fish market. We wandered the market, checking out foreign fish, meats, pig face skins (!), and cheeses before walking a short distance to the restaurant Eirado da Lenã for lunch.

I'm always taking pictures of my food and drink and asking a hundred questions to people in markets, restaurants, and shops about the local food, but now I was just one of a small group doing all this. It was great! I was in my element!

Gerry opened up a selection of Godellos and Albariños from the local Rias Baixas area and we enjoyed them with an absolutely delicious lunch. We would be drinking these wines throughout our trip to see how they matched with various food of the region. We'd also get a chance to meet some of the winemakers and drink with them.

After lunch we were full, tipsy, and more than a little tired with jet lag. We loaded in the bus and had a 30-minute ride to Cambados and the hotel Casa Rosita. Judy and I were very happy when we made our way to our big corner room and took a much needed siesta.

That night the other members of our tour, joined us; George, Anne, Robin, and Sheldon.  We had our first dinner together in the hotel as everyone was pretty tuckered from traveling. There was a fantastic spread of gambas (prawns), fresh fish, percebes (my first barnacles!), pulpo (octopus), seafood salad, clams, and of course the Albariños. Lots and lots of Albariños.

The trip was off to a great start and we were all looking forward to getting to know each other as well as learning about the cuisine and wine culture of this delicious region!

Much, much more to come!

Galicia photos here.
Other posts in this trip:
Shellfish & Grapes in Galicia
On the Move in Galicia
Shooting Sidra in Asturias
Beef and Basque

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