Arrival to Bilbao, transfer on your own to downtown hotel, check in free afternoon until we meet up, take a walk to the Etxanobe restaurant in the Euskalduna Palace. We pass by the Guggenheim museum & get a vivid explanation of Gehrys master piece from the outside. Extanobe under one of Spain most notorious TV chefs Fernando Canales states:
“Our business is based on excellence … looking for the best of the best,” he said.
“The Michelin star is nothing if behind the star there’s no product, no idea.”
“I talk with my staff exactly the same way as I talk with my guests. Why? Because like that, without knowing, my team will be very polite,” he said. “Our slogan is that the people in front of you at that moment are the most important people in the world.”
The turn goes to La Rioja where we do a morning visit & tasting at a small family owned winery getting to know the new La Rioja. We continue our star quest to fine dining village of Ezcaray and meet up with the young & striving Francis Paniego and his family gastro hotel Echaurren & top restaurant within the venue: El Portal…
El Portal de Echaurren is a dream. A dream belonging to a man: Francis Paniego. The dream was sown in his head long before he even knew what would become of it. It is a dream rooted in a valley with paths that lead into the essences of fresh grass and of dry leaves, and the essence of soil and tradition. And, above all, onto family.
Francis Paniego was awarded the National Gastronomic Prize as the best chef in Spain in November 2012. A year later, the Michelin Guide bestowed on El Portal del Echaurren their second star. The chef had already been the first man from La Rioja to achieve the first one. In the summer of 2014, he was branded as Ezcaray’s Favourite Son, his hometown. “One’s personal achievements aren’t completely ours”, said he during his proclamation during the local patron festivities of Saint Lawrence.
The pearl of the Cantabrian sea San Sebastián & a Txakoli winery kicks off the day and for lunch we head for our two super stars: Mugaritz by Andoni Aduriz…
In the world of haute cuisine these days, the kitchens of such Michelin multiple-starred restaurants as Mugaritz, as well as those of steampunk upstarts looking for their first star, have become the crucible for a certain war between faux and haute, fuff-and-noise and authenticity, between extreme dictatorships and imperfect oligarchies, between plates served with miniaturized affectations delivered in designy settings and true artistry exercised in such a way that both challenges our sensibilities and redefines food, making it unforgettable.
Optional Guggenheim visit or bike tour in Bilbao along La Ría del Nervión
Check out and transfer to airport and afternoon flight home.
Address: Bajada del Caleruco 54 izq, 39012 Santander, Spain
Phone: +34647728361 +34609982078
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