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Wine, Culinary & Cultural tours in Spain, Portugal & SW France

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    A small bar in the Spanish city of San Sebastian may just be home to the World’s Best Cheesecake!!! We all know that the Basque Country is a gastronomic paradise and San Sebastian is a foodie mecca. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we hear our guests “oooh” and “ahhh” over devilish pintxos and delicious desserts as their journeys take them to the North of Spain. If you’ve been to San Sebastian, or are dreaming of going, why not try this spectacular, yet simple, cheesecake recipe at home to excite your taste-buds.   Ingredients for La Vina’s Famous Cheesecake Recipe Butter, softened, for greasing tin 7 whole eggs 1kg Philadelphia cream cheese 400g castor sugar 1 tbsp flour 500ml cream   Method for La Vina’s Famous Cheesecake Recipe Preheat the oven to 220C. Lightly grease a 25cm springform tin with butter. Line the bottom and sides of tin with baking paper; allow the paper to come 2-3cm above the edge of the sides. Using a pastry brush, grease the paper with softened butter. Crack the eggs into a bowl and mix well. Using an electric mixer, work cream cheese until smooth. Add the beaten eggs slowly; making sure each egg is incorporated into the cheese before adding more. Pour in sugar, flour and cream. Blend well until smooth. Pour mixture into the lined cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in the tin before taking out of the tin.   Taste the famous Cheesecake of the Authentic La Viña of San Sebastian on one of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours. Contact us for your personalised itinerary, to include San Sebastian, and you too could be exciting your taste-buds with this creamy delight!

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    Once upon a time a local man, named Francisco Ferreira, had a dream! He wanted to own his very own vineyard in the beautiful Douro Valley. Francisco, nicknamed Pôpa, was the illegitimate son of a wealthy winemaker and his veins were filled with the wine and soil of the Douro. Pôpa worked hard and helped his mother on his father’s vineyard by carrying grape filled baskets to the old lagares (wine presses).  Pôpa was a simple soul but lived in sadness, hoping that one day his father would recognize him as his child.  All the while Francisco dreamed of owning his own estate and producing his own wine, a dream he never managed to fulfill in life. In 2003, however, his son, José Ferreira, also known as Zeca do Pôpa, fulfilled the dream of his father, a dream that had also been passed on to him. He started to put together smallholdings, common in the agricultural structure of northern Portugal, and acquire small plots of mostly old vineyards, as well as planting new vines and olive groves. The vines, being planted on the terraced hills above the magnificent Douro River, were blessed with a favorable climate and a high quality soil. A true vineyard was formed, a vineyard in one of the best locations in the oldest recognized wine region of the world, and he named the vineyard in honor of his father, Quinta do Pôpa! Built with both great economic effort and enthusiasm, the first harvest took place in 2007. Today, Francisco’s grandchildren, Stéphane and Vanessa Ferreira, head the team at Quinta do Pôpa and keep the wheels turning with enthusiasm, charisma and commitment for producing signature wines in the family name.   The estate now occupies 30 hectares of land, 14 of which are vineyards. Both sophisticated techniques and traditional methods are used and despite the short number of years that Quinta do Pôpa has been active; this young estate has now established itself as a quality winemaker! Red, White and Rosé wines are produced with love and precision and some innovative and special edition products will delight your senses such as: QUINTA DO PÔPA HOMENAGEM: The tribute of tributes, named in honor of Francisco Ferreira! This powerful and robust red demonstrates good structure and complexity. PÔPA TINTO DOCE:  The 1st Sweet Red Wine from the Douro which is a tribute to the women of the Pôpa Family. PÔPA VV:  made exclusively out of the old vines, aged over 80 years, and trodden by foot, this complex red wine is simply called VV, for Vinhas Velhas (old vines). A fascinating history, warm welcome, fantastic views and great wines await you at Quinta do Pôpa! We will be delighted to include a visit to Quinta do Pôpa for you in your private customized tour itinerary or in any of our sample itineraries that take in the beautiful Douro Valley, Portugal.

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    We received a wonderful newspaper clipping in the post recently, from one of our lovely Australian guests, and we’d love to share it with you. The article, published in print as “The Power of the Pig” and on-line as “Extract: My Year Without Meat” by “The Australian” newspaper,  includes the powerful Spanish custom of ham, and also talks about a visit to one of our favorite ham producers in Andalusia. Here’s the website link to the “The Australian” on-line article: Extract: My Year Without Meat   Join us on a Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tour, like our Majestic Madrid and Authentic Andalucia Tour, and you too could be tasting the delicious jamon right at the source!  

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    The wait is over, the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017 has been presented this evening, and what a night  !!!!! Mas Marroch in Girona, at the hands of the famed Roca Brothers, certainly cooked up a wonderful Michelin starred event that left Spain and Portugal sparkling with Michelin stars once again !!! This year an amazing 30 NEW Michelin Stars were awarded for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017 !! A NEW MICHELIN 3* RESTAURANT for the Michelin Guide to Spain and Portugal 2017 joins the elite 8  (the last addition in this category was in the 2014 Michelin Spain and Portugal Restaurant guide, when DiverXO, Madrid, received the 3rd star) MARTIN BERASATEGUI finally gets the 3rd Michelin star for Barcelona city with LASARTE !!  Congratulations Michelin 3* Restaurant Lasarte, Barcelona , opened in 2006 and by 2009 was already awarded the 2nd Michelin star. This elegant and intimate fine dining restaurant takes it’s name from the town where Martín Berasategui opened his first restaurant and is located in the Hotel Condes, Barcelona. Martín Berasategui now holds a whopping total of 8 Michelin Stars, with TWO  restaurants at the top with Michelin 3* !!! NINE MICHELIN 3 * Restaurants in Spain  2017; Akelare,  Pedro Subijana (San Sebastián – Guipúzcoa) Arzak, Juan Mari y Elena Arzak (San Sebastián – Guipúzcoa) Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu – Vizcaya) Martín Berasategui, Martín Berasategui (Lasarte – Oria – Guipúzcoa) El Celler de Can Roca,  Roca Brothers (Girona) Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta (Dénia – Alicante) Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pol de Mar – Barcelona) DiverXO, David Muñoz (Madrid) Lasarte, Martín Berasategui y Paolo Casagrande (Barcelona)   But, apart from 1 NEW Michelin 3 Starred Restaurant in Spain, what else happened for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017: ** 7  NEW Michelin Two Star Restaurants were awarded for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017: In Spain L’Escaleta , Kiko Moya (Cocentaina – Alicante) DSTAgE,  Diego Guerrero (Madrid) Annua, Óscar Calleja (San Vicente de la Barquera – Cantabria) Cenador de Amós,  Jesús Sánchez (Villaverde de Pontones – Cantabria) BonAmb,  Alberto Ferruz (Xábia – Alicante)   In Portugal Il Gallo d’Oro, Benoit Sinthon (Funchal – Madeira) The Yeatman, Ricardo Costa (Vila Nova de Gaia – Porto)   * 22 NEW Michelin One Star Restaurants were awarded for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017:  Cataluña, Spain Céleri, Xavier Pellicer (Barcelona) Xerta,  Fran López (Barcelona) L’Antic Molí, Vicent Guimerà (Ulldecona – Tarragona) Ca l’Arpa, Pere Arpa (Banyoles – Girona) La Boscana, Joël Castanyé (Bellvís – Lleida)   Comunidad Valenciana, Spain Raúl Resino, Raúl Resino (Benicarló – Castellón) Sents, Santiago Prieto (Ontinyent – Alicante)   Comunidad de Madrid, Spain A’Barra, Juan Antonio Medina (Madrid) Gaytán, Javier Aranda (Madrid) El Invernadero, Rodrigo de la Calle (Collado Mediano – Madrid)   Other Autonomous Communities, Spain Noor, Paco Morales (Córdoba) Cobo Vintage, Miguel Cobo (Burgos) Baluarte, Óscar García (Soria) Adrián Quetglas, Adrián Quetglas (Palma de Mallorca) Argos, Álvaro Salazar (Port Pollença – Mallorca)   Portugal Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Leça da Palmeira) Alma (Lisboa) Loco (Lisboa) William (Madeira/Funchal) L’And Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo) Antiqvvm (Porto) Lab by Sergi Arola (Sintra)       Here’s the complete FULL LIST of the 203 Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal 2017   Experience Michelin starred Restaurant dining opportunities in Spain and Portugal on one of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours. Contact us for your personalized quote.

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    The Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017 certainly sees Spain and Portugal shining  with Michelin Stars again!! NEW for The Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2017 :  1 NEW Michelin 3 Star Restaurant 7 NEW Michelin 2 Star Restaurants 22 NEW Michelin 1 Star Restaurants A total of  203 Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal for 2017: 9 Michelin Three Star, 28 Michelin Two Star and 166 Michelin One Star. Here’s the COMPLETE list for all Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal for 2017: Michelin 3* Restaurants in Spain 2017 NEW: Lasarte (Barcelona) El Celler de Can Roca, Joan Roca (Girona) Arzak,  Juan Mari Arzak (Guipúzcoa) Akelarre, Pedro Subijana (Guipúzcoa) Martín Berasategui,  Martín Berasategui (Guipúzcoa) Sant Pau,  Carme Ruscalleda (Barcelona) Diverxo, David Muñoz (Madrid) Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya) Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Alicante)     Michelin 2* Restaurants in Spain and Portugal for 2017 (NEW first and then by region) NEW: L´Escaleta (Cocentaina, Alicante) NEW: DSTAgE (Madrid) NEW: Annua (San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria) NEW: Cenador de Amós (Villaverde de Pontones, Cantabria) NEW: BonAmb (Xàbia, Alicante) NEW: Il Gallo d´Oro (Funchal, Madeira – Portugal) NEW: The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto – Portugal)   ANDALUCÍA Aponiente (Cádiz) Dani García (Málaga)   BALEARIC ISLES Zaranda (Mallorca)   CANARY ISLES M.B. by Martín Berasategui (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)   MADRID Coque (Humanes, Madrid) La Terraza del Casino (Madrid) El Club Allard (Madrid) Ramón Freixa (Madrid) Santceloni (Madrid)   LA RIOJA El Portal (La Rioja)   CATALONIA Abac (Barcelona) Miramar (Girona) Les Cols (Girona) Enoteca (Barcelona) Moments (Barcelona)   BASQUE COUNTRY Mugaritz (Guipuzcoa)   EXTREMADURA Atrio (Cáceres)   ASTURIAS Casa Marcial (Asturias)   PORTUGAL Vila Joya (Albufeira, Portugal) Ocean (Armaçao de Pêra, Portugal) Belcanto (Lisboa, Portugal)     Michelin 1* Restaurants in Spain and Portugal 2017 (NEW first and then by region)   NEW: Céleri (Barcelona) NEW: Xerta (Barcelona) NEW: Ca l´Arpa (Banyoles) NEW: La Boscana (Bellvís) NEW: L´Antic Molí (Ulldecona) NEW: A´Barra (Madrid) NEW: Gaytán (Madrid) NEW: El Invernadero (Collado Mediano, Madrid) NEW: Raúl Resino (Benicarló) NEW: Sents (Ontinyent) NEW: Cobo Vintage (Burgos) NEW: Noor (Córdoba) NEW: Baluarte (Soria) NEW: Adrián Quetglas (Palma) NEW: Argos (Port de Pollença) NEW: Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Leça da Palmeira, Portugal) NEW: Alma (Lisboa, Portugal) NEW: Loco (Lisboa, Portugal) NEW: William (Madeira/Funchal, Portugal) NEW: L´And Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal) NEW: Antiqvvm (Porto, Portugal) NEW: Lab by Sergi Arola (Sintra, Portugal)   ANDALUCÍA Kabuki Raw (Casares, Málaga) Sollo (Fuengirola, Málaga) Messina (Marbella, Málaga) Acanthum (Huelva) José Carlos García (Málaga) Choco (Córdoba) El Lago (Marbella, Málaga) La Costa (El Ejido, Almería) Abantal (Sevilla) Skina (Marbella, Málaga) Alejandro (Almería)   ARAGÓN La Prensa (Zaragoza) Hospedería El Batán (Tramacastilla, Teruel) Tatau Bistro (Huesca) Lillas Pastia (Huesca) Las Torres (Huesca)   ASTURIAS El Corral del Indianu (Arriondas, Asturias) Auga (Gijón) La Salgar (Gijón) El Retiro (Asturias) Casa Gerardo (Prendes, Asturias) Real Balneario (Salinas, Asturias) Arbidel (Asturias)   BALEARIC ISLES Can Dani (Formentera) Jardín (Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca) Es Molí d’en Bou (Sa Coma, Mallorca) Andreu Genestra (Mallorca) Es Racó d’es Teix (Deiá, Mallorca) Simply Fosh (Mallorca) Es Fum (Palmanova, Mallorca)   CANARY ISLES El Rincón de Juan Carlos (Los Gigantes, Tenerife) Kabuki (Guía de Isora, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) Kazan (Tenerife)   CANTABRIA El Nuevo Molino (Puente Arce, Santander) Solana (Ampuero, Cantabria) El Serbal (Santander)   CASTILLA LA MANCHA Tierra (Toledo) El Bohío (Illescas, Toledo) Maralba (Almansa, Albacete) Las Rejas (Las Pedroñeras, Cuenca) El Carmen de Montesión (Toledo)   CASTILLA + LEÓN Villena (Segovia) Refectorio (Valladolid) La Lobita (Soria) La Botica (Valladolid) El Ermitaño (Benavente, Zamora) Cocinandos (León) Víctor Gutiérrez (Salamanca)   CATALONIA Disfrutar (Barcelona) Hoja Santa (Barcelona) Tresmacarrons (El Masnou, Barcelona) Emporium (Castelló d’Empuries, Girona) Alkimia (Barcelona) Caelis (Barcelona) Cinc Sentits (Barcelona) Dos Cielos (Barcelona) Gaig (Barcelona Hisop (Barcelona) Hofmann (Barcelona) Fonda Sala (Olost, Barcelona) Moo (Barcelona) Via Veneto (Barcelona) Els Casals (Sagás, Barcelona) L’Angle (Barcelona). Capritx (Tarrasa, Barcelona) Estany Clar (Cercs, Barcelona) Can Jubany (Calldetenes, Barcelona) La Cuina de San Simon (Tossa de Mar, Girona) Ca L’Enric (La Val de Vianya, Girona) Bo.Tic (Corsà, Girona) Massana (Girona) La Fonda Xesc (Gombrén, Girona) Els Tinars Llagostera, Girona) Torreo de L’India Xerta, Tarragona) Rincón de Diego (Cambrils, Tarragona) Can Bosch (Cambrils, Tarragona) Les Magnòlies (Arbúcies, Girona) Dos Palillos (Barcelona) Koy Shunka (Barcelona) Lluerna (Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona) Nectari (Barcelona) Pakta (Barcelona) Fogony (Sort, Lleida) Les Moles (Tarragona) Tickets (Barcelona) L’Ó (Sant Fruitós de Bages, Barcelona) Casamar (Llafranc, Girona) Els Brancs (Platja de Canyelles Petites, Girona) Malena (Lleida)   GALICIA Casa Marcelo (Santiago) Nova (Ourense) Yayo Daporta (Cambados, Pontevedra) A Estación (Cambre, La Coruña) Alborada (La Coruña) As Garzas (Malpica de Bergantiños, La Coruña) Retiro da Costiña (Santa Comba, La Coruña) Árbore da Veira (A Coruña) Solla (Poio, Pontevedra) Pepe Vieira Camiño da Serpe (Raxo, Pontevedra) Maruja Limón (Vigo) Culler de Pau (Pontevedra) Silabario (Tui, Pontevedra)   MADRID Lúa (Madrid) La Cabra (Madrid) Álbora (Madrid) Punto MX (Madrid) Montia (Madrid) Chirón (Valdemoro, Madrid) Casa José  (Aranjuez, Madrid) Kabuki (Madrid) Kabuki Wellington (Madrid)   MURCIA Cabaña Buenavista (Murcia)   NAVARRA Europa (Pamplona) Rodero (Pamplona) El Molino de Urdániz (Urdaitz, Navarra)   BASQUE COUNTRY Zarate (Bilbao) Elkano (Guipúzcoa) Boroa (Amorebieta, Vizcaya) Etxebarri (Axpe, Vizcaya) Etxanobe (Bilbao) Nerua (Bilbao,Vizcaya) Mina (Bilbao, Vizcaya) Zortziko (Bilbao) Kokotxa (San Sebastián) Mirador de Ulía (San Sebastián) Alameda (Fuenterrabía, Guipúzcoa) Andra Mari (Galdácano, Vizcaya) Zuberoa (Oyarzun, Guipúzcoa) Zaldarián (Vitoria) Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Álava)   LA RIOJA Venta Moncalvillo (Daroca de Rioja, La Rioja)   VALENCIAN COMMUNITY Casa Manolo (Valencia) Riff (Valencia) Monastrell (Alacant) La Sucursal (Valencia) La Finca (Elche, Alicante) El Poblet (Valencia) Ricard Camarena (València) Cal Paradís (Castelló) Casa Pepa (Ondaira, Alicante)   PORTUGAL São Gabriel (Almancil, Portugal) Henrique Leis (Alamcil, Portugal) Bon Bon (Carvoeiro, Portugal) Willie´s (Quarteira, Portugal) Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais, Portugal) Eleven (Lisboa, Portugal) Feitoria (Lisboa, Portugal) Largo do Paço (Amarante, Portugal)

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    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou 2017 Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo 2017 Feliz Natal e Feliz Ano Novo 2017 “Cheers!” from Spain We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Prosperous New Year 2017! With compliments of the festive season from Ursula, Joanne and the Gourmand Breaks team!

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    From East Coast to West Coast (and we’re not talking about New York to LA or Brisbane to Perth) there are many great wine regions in Spain and Portugal. Let us take you on a journey ….. a fascinating journey to experience just some of the great wine regions that Spain and Portugal offers  – and all in the same vacation! Heading out from Barcelona your wine journey starts with the Penedes Wine Region of Spain, famed as Cava country. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine produced in the Traditional Method, as is Champagne. Cava was awarded it’s own D.O. (Denominación de Origin) or Wine Appellation in 1986 and, although there are a few Spanish wine regions that produce Cava, this is the main area of production  – with over 90% of cava coming from Catalonia. From here the Priorat Wine Region of Spain, where quality red wines, await you. While Spain has many DO’s or Wine Appellations, there are just 2 DOC’s “Qualified Appellation of Origin” and this is one. Priorat is famous for its mineral-rich soil, slate (called licorella by the locals), which creates a unique humidity for the vines. Terraced hillsides of slate are common with very old vines of Garnacha and Cariñena, typically blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to offer substantial, inky wines of distinct character and reputation. Next stop is the La Rioja Wine Region of Spain, the other DOC Wine Region of Spain. Old and traditional on one hand and modernistic on the other.  There is a heavy use of oak for long ageing here, which is the signature Rioja style, polished reds based mainly on Tempranillo but also Graciano and Garnacha blends.  Continuing West, your journey continues to the Ribera del Duero Wine Region of Spain. Here you will taste the more modern, full-bodied and slightly more rustic wines than Rioja, even though the two regions are close together.  Ribera wines are mostly all Tempranillo, darker and more purple. Crossing the border now you arrive to the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal, considered one the most spectacular wine regions of the world with its characteristic terraced vineyards as the sloping hills meet the meandering river below. The famous port wine is made here at Quintas (estates) along a narrow river gorge that winds 100 miles through the mountain ranges and was once shipped downriver to the city of Porto in sail-boats called Rabelos, for ageing. Although famed as a producer of Port Wine, over the last few years the Douro wines have also grown in popularity. Following the route of Port Wine, as the grape juice once did from the Douro, you arrive to Porto in Portugal, and Vila Nova de Gaia, famous for the Port Wine Lodges of historic port wine producers. Port houses have aged their wines in Vila Nova de Gaia for over three centuries and here, the ageing and blending of most of the world’s supply of Port wine takes place beneath a sea of red roofs emblazoned with some of the most famous names in wine-making. Porto finds you at the end of your luxury private journey where you will have visited the very best wineries of Spain and Portugal with expert in-house guides,  stayed in hand selected hotels and above all been able to make the most of the top wine tasting as your chauffeur takes the driving strain! You may like to include other wine regions of Spain and Portugal in your Private Wine Tour and we can happily custom build your perfect wine tour based on your preferences. This is an idea for a route in our sample itinerary  Wine Lovers Tour of Spain & Portugal . Contact us for pricing or to start custom building your Luxury Private Wine Tour.

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      The World’s Best 50 Restaurants List 2017 is coming soon! This year the prestigious Restaurant Magazine’s acclaimed list will be presented from the Royal Exhibition Building, in Melbourne, Australia, on April 5th 2017. It’s no coincedence that the presentation of the new World’s Best 50 Restaurants List 2017 coincides with one of the most important gastronomic events of the country:  The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. There’s still just under 4 weeks to go, and we’ll keep you updated with the results. In the meantime here’s the current World’s 50 Best Restuarants as presented last year from New Year City: Osteria Francescana, Modena (Italy) – WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANT AND BEST RESTAURANT IN EUROPE     El Celler de Can Roca, Girona (Spain)     Eleven Madison Park, New York (USA) – BEST RESTAURANT IN NORTH AMERICA     Central, Lima (Peru) – BEST RESTAURANT IN SOUTH AMERICA     Noma, Copenhagen (Denmark)     Mirazur, Menton (France)     Mugaritz, San Sebastian (Spain)     Narisawa, Tokyo (Japan) – BEST RESTAURANT IN ASIA     Steirereck, Vienna (Austria)     Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo (Spain)     D.O.M., Sao Paulo (Brazil)     Quintonil, Mexico City (Mexico)     Maido, Lima (Peru) – HIGHEST CLIMBER AWARD     The Ledbury, London (UK)     Alinea, Chicago (USA)     Azurmendi, Larrabetzu (Spain)     Piazza Duomo, Alba (Italy)     White Rabbit, Moscow (Russia)     Arpège, Paris (France)     Amber, Hong Kong (Hong Kong)     Arzak, San Sebastian (Spain)     The Test Kitchen, Cape Town (South Africa) – BEST RESTAURANT IN AFRICA     Gaggan, Bangkok (Thailand)     Le Bernardin, New York (USA)     Pujol, Mexico City (Mexico)     The Clove Club, London (UK)     Saison, San Francisco (USA)     Geranium, Copenhagen (Denmark)     Tickets, Barcelona (Spain)     Astrid Y Gastón, Lima (Peru)     Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo (Japan)     Restaurant André, Singapore (Singapore)     Attica, Melbourne (Australia) – BEST RESTAURANT IN AUSTRALASIA     Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin (Germany)     Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach (Germany)     Boragò, Santiago (Chile)     Nahm, Bangkok (Thailand)     De Librije, Zwolle (Netherlands)     Le Calandre, Rubano (Italy)     Relae, Copenhagen (Denmark) – SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANT AWARD     Fäviken, Järpen (Sweden)     Ultraviolet, Shanghai (China)     Biko, Mexico City (Mexico)     Estela, New York (USA)     Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (UK)     Combal.Zero, Rivoli (Italy)     Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau (Switzerland)     Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Tarrytown (USA)     Quique Dacosta, Denia (Spain)     Septime, Paris (France) And remember, there’s more, here is the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 FULL LIST 51-100 We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal.  Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your custom built quote!

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    RESULTS ARE IN for the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 places 51-100!!!!! The NEW World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2017 from Number One – 50 will be presented next week but, hot off the press,  here’s the NEW World’s 50 Best Restaurants 51-100 FULL COMPLETE LIST 2017 :   No.51 Mikla – Istanbul, Turkey No.52 Nihonryori RyuGin – Tokyo, Japan No.53 Burnt Ends – Singapore No.54 Lyle’s – London, UK No.55 Disfrutar – Barcelona, Spain  (NEW for 2017) – Miele One To Watch Award 2017 No.56 Nerua – Bilbao, Spain  (Falls from No.55) No.57 Fäviken – Järpen, Sweden No.58 Momofuku Ko – New York, USA No.59 Combal Zero – Rivoli, Italy No.60 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana – Hong Kong, China No.61 Hertog Jan – Bruges, Belgium No.62 Quique Dacosta – Denia, Spain (Falls from No.49) No.63 The Test Kitchen – Cape Town, South Africa No.64 La Grenouillère – La Madelaine Sous Montreuil, France No.65 Biko – Mexico City, Mexico No.66 Estela – New York, USA No.67 Benu – San Francisco, USA No.68 The French Laundry – Yountville, USA No.69 Hiša Franko – Kobarid, Slovenia No.70 Aqua – Wolfsburg, Germany No.71 Lung King Heen – Hong Kong, China No.72 Schloss Schauenstein – Fürstenau, Switzerland No.73 La Colombe – Cape Town, South Africa No.74 The Jane – Antwerp, Belgium No.75 Sud777 – Mexico City, Mexico No.76 Lasai – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil No.77 Martin Berasategui – Lasarte-Oria, Spain (Falls from No.59) No.78 Indian Accent – New Delhi, India No.79 Maaemo – Oslo, Norway No.80 Le Cinq – Paris, France No.81 Maní – São Paulo, Brazil No.82 Chef’s Table At Brooklyn Fare – New York, USA No.83 Atelier Crenn – San Francisco, USA No.84 The Restaurant at Meadowood –  St. Helena, USA No.85 Belcanto – Lisbon, Portugal (Falls from No.78) No.86 Odette – Singapore No.87 Per Se – New York, USA No.88 Selfie – Moscow, Russia No.89 Mingles – Seoul, Korea No.90 Manresa – Los Gatos, USA No.91 St. John – London, UK No.92 Twins – Moscow, Russia No.93 Le Chateaubriand – Paris, France No.94 Kadeau – Copenhagen, Denmark No.95 Quay – Sydney, Australia No.96 Epicure – Paris, France No.97 Sushi Saito – Tokyo, Japan No.98 Hedone – London, UK No.99 Florilège – Tokyo, Japan No.100 Olympe – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   Michelin 3* Restaurant DiverXo – Madrid, Spain,  disappears from the 51-100 list where, in 2016, it held position No.79. Has DiverXo entered the Top 50? We’ll let you know … The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017  No.1 – No.50 will be presented next week.  We already know that Quique Dacosta has left the Top 50,  falling from No.49 in 2016 to this years No.62, but what about the other Spanish superchefs in last years Top 50? Here’s a recap: No.2 El Celler de Can Roca – Girona, Spain No.7 Mugaritz – San Sebastian, Spain No.10 Asador Etxebarri – Atxondo, Spain No.16 Azurmendi – Larrabetzu, Spain No.21 Arzak – San Sebastian, Spain No.29 Tickets – Barcelona, Spain   All will be revealed on the 5th of April when we let you know the results of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List 2017!

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    In the run-up to the NEW acclaimed World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 List, here’s a re-cap of the World’s Number One Restaurant over the years: 2002: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed) 2003 + 2004: The French Laundry – Thomas Keller – USA (currently, 2017, at Nº 68) 2005: The Fat Duck – Heston Blumenthal – UK (currently, 2016, not in the Top 100 ) 2006, 2007, 2008 + 2009: El Bulli – Ferran Adrià – Spain (currently closed) 2010, 2011 + 2012: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2016, at Nº 5) 2013: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain (currently, 2016, at Nº 2) 2014: Noma – René Redzepi – Denmark (currently, 2016, at Nº 5) 2015: El Celler de Can Roca – Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca – Spain (currently, 2016, at Nº 2) 2016: Osteria Francescana –  Massimo Bottura – Italy (currently, 2016, at Nº 1) Will Massimo hold on to the Top Spot? Will the Roca brothers reclaim their throne ? or, will there be a NEW Numero Uno for 2017? We’ll let you know on Wednesday In the meantime, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 List from 51-100 has already been presented and here’s a few individual awards that we already know too : The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 – Heston Blumenthal The World’s Best Female Chef 2017 – Ana Roš –  Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia Miele One To Watch Award 2017 – Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain  

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    RESULTS ARE IN for the acclaimed Restaurant Magazine’s  World’s Best 50 Restaurants 2017 and there’s a NEW nº 1 Restaurant!!!!! LIVE from the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia, the fifteenth edition of the prestigious awards ceremony for The World’s Best 50 Restaurants 2017 list has now been presented.  Congratulations to Eleven Madison Park and chef Daniel Humm for The World’s Best 50 Restaurants 2017 Number One spot!!   Osteria Francescana, after one year at Nº 1,  falls to 2nd place for 2017 and El Celler de Can Roca falls to 3rd place! Here’s the COMPLETE FULL 1-50 The World’s Best Restaurants 2017 list: Eleven Madison Park – New York, USA Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy El Celler De Can Roca – Girona, Spain (Falls from Nº2) Mirazur – Menton, France Central – Lima, Peru Asador Etxebarri – Axpe, Spain (Climbs from Nº10) Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand Maido – Lima, Peru Mugaritz – San Sebastian, Spain (Falls from Nº7) Steirereck – Vienna, Austria Blue Hill at Stone Barns – New York, USA Arpège – Paris, France Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée – Paris, France Restaurant Andre – Singapore, Singapore Piazza Duomo – Alba, Italy D.O.M. – Sao Paulo, Brazil Le Bernardin – New York, USA Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan Geranium – Copenhagen, Denmark Pujol – Mexico City, Mexico Alinea – Chicago, USA Quintonil – Mexico City, Mexico White Rabbit – Moscow, Russia Amber – HongKong, China Tickets – Barcelona, Spain(Climbs from Nº 29) The Clove Club – London, England The Ledbury – London, England Nahm – Bangkok, Thailand Le Calandre – Rubano, Italy Arzak – San Sebastian,  Spain (Falls from Nº21) Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen – Paris, France Attica – Melbourne, Australia Astrid y Gaston – Lima, Peru De Librije – Zwolle, Netherlands Septime – Paris, France Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – London, England Saison – San Francisco, USA Azurmendi – Larrabetzu, Spain (Falls from Nº16) Relae – Copenhagen, Denmark Cosme – NY, USA Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet – Shanghai, China Boragó – Santiago, Chile Reale – Castel Di Sangro, Italy Brae Restaurant – Birregurra, Australia Den – Tokyo, Japan L’Astrance – Paris, France Vendôme – Cologne, Germany Tim Raue – Berlin, Germany Tegui – Buenos Aires, Argentina Hof Van Cleve – Kruishoutem, Belgium   Continental awards 2017: Best Restaurant in Australasia – Attica, Melbourne Australia Best Restaurant in Asia – Gaggan Best Restaurant in South America – Central Best Restaurant in Europe – Osteria Francescana Best Restaurant in North America – Eleven Madison Park   Individual Awards 2017: The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 – Heston Blumenthal The World’s Best Female Chef 2017 – Ana Roš –  Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia Miele One To Watch Award 2017 – Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain The World’s Best Pastry Chef 2017 – Dominique Ansel Sustainable Restaurant Award 2017  – Septime, Paris Chefs’ Choice Award 2017 – Virgilio Martinez The Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award 2017 – El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain Highest Climber 2017 – Dan Barber Blue Hill at Stone Barns at No.11   And remember, there’s more, here is the NEW World’s 50 Best Restaurants 51-100 FULL COMPLETE LIST 2017 Congratulations to all the great Superchefs for their fantastic World rated restaurants and another year in the prestigious Restaurant Magazine list!   Next year, 2018, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards Ceremony will be coming back to Europe and heading to Spain to the Foodie Mecca that is the Basque Country !!! Bilbao will host the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2018 awards next spring!   We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal.  Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your personalized quote!.

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    The New World’s Best Restaurants 2017 (Full List) has been now been presented and the Top Spots for 2017  have been claimed by: Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA, at Number 1 Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy, at Number 2 El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain, at Number 3     Eleven Madison Park climbed 2 places from last years Number 3 to become the Worlds Best Restaurant for 2017, while Osteria Francescana and El Celler de Can Roca both fell 1 place to their current places of 2 and 3 respectively.   It seems that Spain and Portugal had a bit of a roller coaster ride in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017, with some climbing, some falling, some appearing and others disappearing! There is, however, still a strong Iberian presence in the acclaimed Restaurant Magazine’s world famous List and here’s what happened and where everyone stands for the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017:   El Celler De Can Roca – Girona, Spain – falls 1 place to No.3 but is awarded the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award 2017   Asador Etxebarri – Axpe, Spain – climbs 4 places to No.6 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Mugaritz – San Sebastian, Spain – falls 2 places to No.9 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Tickets – Barcelona, Spain – climbs 4 places to No.25 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017    Arzak – San Sebastian,  Spain – falls 9 places to No.30 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Azurmendi – Larrabetzu, Spain –  falls 22 places to No.38 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Disfrutar – Barcelona, Spain  – appears for the 1st time at No.55 and is also awarded the Miele One To Watch Award 2017   Nerua – Bilbao, Spain – falls 1 place to No.56 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Quique Dacosta – Denia, Spain – falls 13 places to No.62 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Martin Berasategui – Lasarte-Oria, Spain  – falls 18 places to No.77 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   Belcanto – Lisbon, Portugal – falls 7 places to No.85 in the Worlds Best Restaurants List for 2017   DiverXo – Madrid, Spain – disappears from the Worlds Best Restaurants List where, in 2016, it held position No.79     FULL LIST of all the top 50 restaurants :  World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 from 1 – 50  All restaurants placed 51 – 100 FULL LIST : World’s Best Restaurants 2017 from 51 – 100      Let’s hope that next year, 2018, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards Ceremony provides Spain and Portugal with lots of high places on the Restaurant Magazine’s prestigious gastronomic list ! After all, the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2018 awards will be presented from Spain from the foodie mecca known as the Basque Country – in particular from Bilbao! We’re already excited for next year !!!!! We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal.  Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your personal quote!.

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    The Michelin roadshow is in full swing and some of the Michelin Guides 2018 have already been presented: Great Britain & Ireland, Shanghai, Switzerland, San Francisco and Washington DC. Still to come this October are Chicago and New York  … but Spain & Portugal don’t have long to wait as Michelin fever lands on Spain & Portugal on November 22nd 2017! Can Spain expect another Michelin 3* restaurant for 2018 ??? Maybe the Michelin Guide Spain & Portugal 2018 will provide Portugal with its first Michelin 3* restaurant ???  We’ll keep you posted … This year the Michelin Guide Spain & Portugal travels to the Canary Islands, to Tenerife – the only Canary Island with Michelin-starred restaurants, of which there are just four: Michelin 2* Restaurant: M.B. by Martín Berasategui (Guia de Isora) Michelin 1* Restaurant: El Rincón de Juan Carlos (Los Gigantes) Michelin 1* Restaurant: Abama Kabuki (Guia de Isora) Michelin 1* Restaurant: Kazan (Santa Cruz de Tenerife)   The official announcement of the Michelin Guide to Spain & Portugal 2018 will come from a decadent gala hosted at the Ritz-Carlton Abama Hotel in Guía de Isora, home to two of the island’s Michelin-starred restaurants. M.B restaurant’s Executive Chef, Erlantz Gorostiza, heads up the « catering » side of the event, supported by Martín Berasategui (founder of M.B) and Ricardo Sanz of the cult Japanese fusion restaurant Kabuki. Guests will have the chance to try the delights of all four Michelin starred restaurants of Tenerife. In the meantime, while we wait for the NEW Michelin Guide Spain & Portugal 2018 to be announced, here’s a quick recap of last years’ Michelin occurrences: A whopping 30 new Michelin stars were awarded for the Michelin Guide to Spain & Portugal 2017 with Martín Berasategui finally getting the 3rd Michelin star for Barcelona city with his restaurant Lasarte. In total, last year, Spain received 1 New Michelin 3*restaurant, 5 new Michelin 2* and 15 new Michelin 1* while Portugal received 2 new Michelin 2* restaurants and 7 new Michelin 1*. The current total of Michelin 3* Restaurants in the Michelin Guide to Spain & Portugal is NINE, but they’re all in Spain: Akelarre, Pedro Subijana (Guipúzcoa) Arzak, Juan Mari Arzak (Guipúzcoa) Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya) Diverxo, David Muñoz (Madrid) El Celler de Can Roca, Joan Roca (Girona) Lasarte (Barcelona) Martín Berasategui, Martín Berasategui (Guipúzcoa) Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Alicante) Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda (Barcelona)   FULL LIST of ALL Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal 2017   We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal.  Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your personal quote!.

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    The history of Judaism in Spain dates back to Roman times, while some research even suggests that they may have inhabited the country earlier than the 3rd century. You may not be aware that  Spanish Jews were one of the largest Jewish communities worldwide, living peacefully under both Muslim and Christian rule until the year 1492 when  Isabel and Ferdinand expelled them during the inquisition. Experience the enduring Jewish heritage that Spain offers, in a private tour itinerary like our Jewish Heritage Tour of Spain including Barcelona, Girona, Besalu, Seville, Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid.  Or, you could  combine Spain with Portugal and SW France on a private tour to discover more of the Iberian Peninsula Jewry, a history which is one of both glory and tragedy. Currently,  there are approximately 40,000 Jews living in Spain, and of that very healthy percentage, there is clearly a strong contingent of wine aficionados! Capçanes winery in Montsant, is the very first winery in Spain to produce a Kosher wine in the 20th century, although Kosher wine has been in existence since 636 AD in Israel and may have been in Spain prior to Capçanes innovative move to commence making Kosher wine. Capçanes dates back to the 19th century and was one of the many victims of the grape vine infection Phylloxera in Spain. Almost totally wiped out and under resourced, it was some time before in 1933 five families joined forces to create the co-operative of Capçanes. Over the years the co-operative grew steadily until 1995 when a Jewish family from Barcelona requested that they make the first Kosher wine in Spain and times truly changed for Capçanes. It meant the installation of new equipment allowing the winemakers to identify, isolate and vinify under controlled “Lo Mebushal” conditions, small parcels of quality fruit.”  Subsequently, the Peraj Ha’abib (Flor de Primavera or Spring Flower) was the wine that placed Capçanes on the map worldwide. What is Kosher Wine? According to the practice known as orla, the grapes of new vines cannot be used for winemaking until the fourth year of planting. No other fruits or vegetables may be grown in between the rows of the vines (kalai hakerem) After the first harvest, the field must lie fallow every seventh year. Each of these sabbatical years is known as shnat shmita. From the onset of the harvest, only kosher tools and storage facilities may be used in the winemaking process, and all of the winemaking equipment must be cleaned [sometimes up to 7 times with hot water] to be certain that no foreign objects remain in the equipment or vats. From the moment the grapes reach the winery, only Sabbath observant [male] Jews are allowed to come in contact with the wine. All of the materials (e.g. yeasts) used in the production and clarification of the wines must be certified as kosher. A symbolic amount of wine, representing the tithe (truma vama’aser) once paid to the Temple in Jerusalem must be poured away from the tanks or barrels in which the wine is being made. A Kosher wine proves to be a challenge to any winemaker. The winemaker may not have any contact with his wine other than through the Rabbi. Which means, that if the winemaker at Capçanes wants to check on his wine, he must ask the Rabbi to come in from Barcelona and take out a sample for him to both see and taste. Peraj Ha’abib is made with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Garnatxa Negra and 30% Samsó and aged for 12 months in new and one year old, Kosher French oak barrels. The wine is incredibly dark in color with a fabulous black cherry, chocolate and floral nose, worthy of accolades. The 16,000 bottles of kosher wine produced each year represent only about 5 percent of Capçanes’ production but attract most of the attention. The wine is exported to the United States and Israel, mostly, but it also finds its way to small Jewish communities in Europe and Mexico. Capçanes has three extremely knowledgeable winemakers, each of whom is dedicated to a specific area and together they bring their talents to their business. Angel Teixido is the most experienced and is in charge of the vineyard control. Francesc Perello coordinates bottling and wine analysis and Jürgen Wagner composes and styles the blends. We only have good comments to make about their excellent customer-oriented philosophy, not to mention the superb quality of their wine! If you would like to learn more about Kosher wines, then why not include a visit  while you’re staying in Barcelona to this prestigious winery which produces some of the most well-known Kosher Wines, with a tour of the facilities, followed by a tasting of their best Kosher wines. We cover many wine regions and you could too on your custom-built tour itinerary with Gourmand Breaks. Here are just some of our Sample Wine Tour Itineraries in Spain, Portugal and SW France.

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    Spain, Portugal and SW France are three great Wine Producing Countries and home to some of the most famous names in the wine-making world. Big, complex wines with character, style and quality are just waiting to be tasted in Bordeaux, La Rioja, Priorat, Penedes, Ribera del Duero, Alentejo, Douro Valley … … and you can visit some (or all) of these fantastic wine regions of Spain, Portugal and SW France on a Private Luxury Wine Tour like our Wine Lovers Tour of Portugal, Spain & France Spain, Portugal and SW France are just the ticket to visit top wine estates and meet vineyard owners and in-house experts who lovingly show you into their world – a big world at that! Spain has many Wine Appellations known as “DO’s”, Denominaciones de Origen, but just two of them have been distinguished as “qualified”, meaning that their quality standards are a bit higher than the rest: DOC (Denominación de Origen Calificada) Rioja and DOQ (Denominació d’Origen Qualificada) Priorat. Aging is a very important aspect of Spanish wines so Spain has an aging classification system as well, meaning you will find Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva on the label too. Portugal is divided into 14 Regional Wine areas: Vinho Verde, Trás-os-Montes, Porto and Douro, Távora-Varosa, Bairrada, Dão, Beira Interior, Lisboa, Tejo, Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Algarve, Açores and Madeira. Portuguese wine is categorized using the ‘DOC’ (Denominação de Origem Controlada) system meaning Controlled Denomination of Origin. In the Douro there are separate DOCs for unfortified wine and for Port, although geographically they both lie within the same boundaries. In France the appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” meaning “controlled designation of origin” sets the rules and today there are hundreds of AOC’s. In France there is a further classification system, existing mostly for Burgundy and Bordeaux, in which the quality of their AOC wines is further rated. In Bordeaux this is the Cru, also referred to as ‘growths’ of which there are five levels, attached to particular chateaux. So you see there’s a lot going on behind that bottle of wine on your table, standards to adhere to and rules to follow. Discover some of the best wine regions in Spain, Portugal and/or France on a Private Wine tour designed just for you – the wine enthusiast – and sip fine wine in the Mediterranean breeze, along the left bank of the Gironde or visit the vineyards and cellars of century’s old family owned wineries!

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    Michelin fever is here and next week we will be delighted to bring you the results of the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 when the brand new red guide is presented from Tenerife. As with every year there is much speculation and the bets are on!!! How many overall new stars??? A new Michelin 3*restaurant??? More Michelin starred restaurants for Portugal??? All will be revealed on the 22nd of November 2017 and we’ll bring you the results live from Tenerife. In the meantime: Hints, from the commercial director of Michelin Travel Partner Spain and Portugal, have suggested that we will again be showered with stars for the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018. Whilst no names have been mentioned, rumor has it that there could be at least 2 NEW Michelin 3* restaurants!! Some 5 NEW Michelin 2* restaurants!! And around 20 NEW Michelin 1* restaurants for the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018! That’s a lot of (speculated) sparkling going in Spain and Portugal! We love Michelin gossip and apparently it will be a very good year for Spain in all star categories … and we have our fingers crossed for Portugal too    Michelin, however, implies a great year every year and then the reality actually turns out to be quite different! But anyway, the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 is on its way and based on the numeric hints that the commercial director of Michelin Travel Partner Spain and Portugal implies here’s some speculation for the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018:  Possibility of a new Michelin 3 Star Restaurant? There will be at least ONE, as it is implied that the number of Michelin 3* restaurants will pass 10! So the speculation is 2 as in 2017 the number of Michelin 3* restaurants reached 9: Akelarre, El Celler de Can Roca, DiverXO, Arzak, Azurmendi, Quique Dacosta Restaurante, Sant Pau, Martín Berasategui and Lasarte. Names sounding out as a New Michelin 3* restaurant for the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 are Aponiente, Miramar, Àbac, Atrio, Les Cols, Santceloni or Martín Berasategui (a favorite of the Michelin inspectors – he has 8 Michelin stars to date) for his restaurant  M.B. in Tenerife (coincidence that the presentation this year is from there?). And then what about poor Mugaritz? Eternally awarded Michelin 2* status year after year. And of course there’s Portugal too with a strong contender like Belcanto. We’ll let you know the results of the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 next Wednesday …  How many NEW Michelin 2* restaurants? Apparently there will be various New Michelin 2* restaurants in the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018, but less than the amount of New Michelin 2* restaurants last year, which was 7 (5 in Spain and 2 in Portugal) so the estimate is 5!  Some of the names flying around to be upgraded to Michelin 2* status in the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 are Ricard Camarena, Disfrutar, Nerua, Noor, Kabuki Wellington, Dos Cielos, Tickets and Etxebarri … One thing that Michelin have advanced is that one New Michelin 2* restaurant will be in a geographical location somewhat hidden !?! Could this be true? We’ll let you know next week …  New Michelin  1* Restaurants? There is expected to be about the same number of New Michelin 1* restaurants for the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 as in the last few years,  so around 20, and some names that are coming up are Enigma and Eneko … we have our fingers crossed for Divinum in Girona! Twenty  New Michelin 1* restaurants is a good number although apparently there could have been more this year but some restaurants due to be awarded with a Michelin star for the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 have subsequently closed! And talking of closures, there will also be some lost Michelin stars for the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018, such as Celeri in Barcelona who are currently closed since the summer (for refurbishment or relocation). We’ll let you know the results of the NEW Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 next week … in the meantime, all this speculation is hungry work Bon appetite! We have many fine dining opportunities for you all over Spain and / or Portugal.  Any of our sample private Gourmand Breaks Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tours gives you the chance of fine dining – contact us for your personal quote!

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    The Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2018 has been presented this evening, and Oh! What a night!!!!! The Ritz-Carlton Abama Hotel in Guía de Isora, Tenerife, home of the M.B restaurant under the direction of famed chef Martin Berasategui, certainly cooked up a wonderful Michelin starred event that left Spain and Portugal sparkling with Michelin stars once again!!! There are 2 NEW MICHELIN 3* RESTAURANTS!!!!!! for the Michelin Guide to Spain and Portugal 2018 !!! ABaC and Aponiente join the elite 9 to become 11 Michelin 3* Restaurants in Spain for the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018. ABaC restaurant first opened it’s doors in 2000 in the premises of the now Ten’s Tapas Restaurant by Jordi Cruz. ABaC gained its 2nd Michelin for  the 2012 Guide and tonight becomes Michelin 3* and joins Martin Berasategui’s “Lasarte”  to give the city of Barcelona two Michelin Three Star Restaurants! Angel León, known as Chef del Mar (Chef of the Sea) gains the 3rd Michelin Star for his restaurant Aponiente, in El Puerto de Santa Maria. Aponiente was awarded its 2nd Michelin Star for the 2015 guide and tonight joins the elite Michelin 3*crew. With the 2 new additions for 2018 the Michelin Guide Spain and Portugal 2018 offers a TOTAL OF ELEVEN MICHELIN 3 * Restaurants in Spain and  Portugal  (although all are in Spain)!!  ABaC,  Jordi Cruz (Barcelona) Akelare,  Pedro Subijana (San Sebastián – Guipúzcoa) Aponiente, Angel Leon (El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz) Arzak, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (San Sebastián – Guipúzcoa) Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu – Vizcaya) DiverXO, David Muñoz (Madrid) El Celler de Can Roca,  Roca Brothers (Girona) Lasarte, Martín Berasategui and Paolo Casagrande (Barcelona) Martín Berasategui, Martín Berasategui (Lasarte – Oria – Guipúzcoa) Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta (Dénia – Alicante) Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pol de Mar – Barcelona)   But, apart from 2 NEW Michelin 3 Starred Restaurants for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2018, here’s what else happened: ** 5 NEW Michelin Two Star Restaurants were awarded for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2018 (all to Spain): Disfrutar, Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas (Barcelona) Dos Cielos, Sergio and Javier Torres (Barcelona) Maralba, Fran Martínez (Almansa, Albacete) Coque (Madrid) regains its stars after moving location Cabaña Buenavista , Pablo González (El Palmar, Murcia)   * 19 NEW Michelin One Star Restaurants were awarded for the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2018: IN SPAIN:  Alevante, Ángel León (Chiclana de la Frontera/Novo Sancti Petri, Cádiz) Bardal, Benito Gómez (Ronda, Málaga) Caelis (Barcelona) regains its star after moving location Enigma, Albert Adrià (Barcelona) Castell Peralada (Peralada, Girona) La Candela Restò, Samy Ali Rando (Madrid) Cebo, Aurelio Morales (Madrid) Amelia, Paulo Airaudo (San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa) Eneko, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya) Sucede, Miguel Ángel Mayor (Valencia) Audrey’s by Rafa Soler (Calpe, Alicante) El Rodat, Nazario Cano (Jávea, Alicante) Nub, Andrea Bernardi and Fernanda Fuentes (La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) Trigo, Víctor Martín (Valladolid, Castilla y León) Kiro Sushi, Félix Jiménez (Logroño, La Rioja) La Bicicleta, Eduardo Quintana (Hoznayo, Cantabria) El Doncel, Enrique Pérez (Sigüenza, Castilla-La Mancha)   IN PORTUGAL: Restaurante Gusto,  Almancil Vista, Praia da Rocha (Portimão)   COMPLETE LIST OF ALL MICHELIN STARRED RESTAURANTS SPAIN & PORTUGAL 2018   Congratulations to all the wonderful chefs in Spain and Portugal for yet  another special Michelin year Experience Michelin starred Restaurant dining opportunities in Spain and Portugal on one of our Private Gourmet and Culinary Tours. Contact us for your personal quote.

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    The NEW Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2018 has been presented and this year offers a total of 218 Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal 2018! That’s a lot of fine dining! Experience Michelin starred Restaurant dining opportunities throughout Spain and Portugal on one of our Private Gourmet and Culinary Tours. Here’s the COMPLETE full list of all 218 Michelin Starred Restaurants in Spain and Portugal for 2018:  *** ALL 11 Michelin 3* Restaurants in Spain 2018 (none in Portugal) NEW: ABaC, Jordi Cruz (Barcelona) NEW: Aponiente, Angel Leon (El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz) Akelarre, Pedro Subijana (Guipúzcoa) Arzak, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (Guipúzcoa) Azurmendi, Eneko Atxa (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya) Diverxo, David Muñoz (Madrid) El Celler de Can Roca, Joan Roca (Girona) Lasarte, Martin Berasategui (Barcelona) Martín Berasategui, Martín Berasategui (Guipúzcoa) Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta (Dénia, Alicante) Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda (Barcelona) ** ALL 30 Michelin 2* Restaurants Spain and Portugal 2018  … 25 in Spain/ 5 in Portugal SPAIN: NEW: Cabaña Buenavista (El Palmar, Murcia) NEW: Coque (Madrid) regains its stars after moving location NEW: Dos Cielos (Barcelona) NEW: Disfrutar (Barcelona) NEW: Maralba (Almansa, Albacete) Dani García (Málaga) Casa Marcial (Asturias) Zaranda (Mallorca) M.B. by Martín Berasategui (Santa Cruz de Tenerife) Annua (San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria) Cenador de Amós (Villaverde de Pontones) Enoteca (Barcelona) Moments (Barcelona) Miramar (Llançà, Girona) Les Cols (Olot, Girona) Atrio (Cáceres) El Club Allard (Madrid) DSTAgE (Madrid) Ramón Freixa (Madrid) Santceloni (Madrid) La Terraza del Casino (Madrid) Mugaritz (Guipuzcoa) El Portal (La Rioja) L´Escaleta (Cocentaina, Alicante) BonAmb (Xàbia, Alicante)   PORTUGAL: Vila Joya (Albufeira) Ocean (Armaçao de Pêra) Belcanto (Lisbon) Il Gallo d´Oro (Funchal, Madeira) The Yeatman (Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto) *ALL 177 Michelin 1* Restaurants Spain and Portugal 2018 As there are so many, 159 in Spain and 18 in Portugal, you will find these by region:  SPAIN:  ANDALUCÍA NEW: Alevante (Chiclana de la Frontera / Novo Sancti Petri, Cádiz) NEW: Bardal (Ronda, Málaga) Kabuki Raw (Casares, Málaga) Choco (Córdoba) Noor (Córdoba) La Costa (El Ejido, Almería) Sollo (Fuengirola, Málaga) Acánthum (Huelva) José Carlos García (Málaga) El Lago (Marbella, Málaga) Messina (Marbella, Málaga) Skina (Marbella, Málaga) Alejandro (Roquetas de Mar, Almería) Abantal (Sevilla)   ARAGON Lillas Pastia (Huesca) Tatau Bistro (Huesca) Las Torres (Huesca) Hospedería El Batán (Tramacastilla, Teruel) La Prensa (Zaragoza)   ASTURIAS El Corral del Indianu (Arriondas, Asturias) Auga (Gijón) La Salgar (Gijón) El Retiro (Asturias) Casa Gerardo (Prendes, Asturias) Arbidel (Ribadesella) Real Balneario (Salinas, Asturias)   BALEARIC ISLES Andreu Genestra (Mallorca) Bou (Sa Coma, Mallorca) Es Racó d’es Teix (Deiá, Mallorca) Adrián Quetglas (Palma) Marc Fosh (Palma de Mallorca) Es Fum (Palmanova, Mallorca) Jardín (Port d’Alcúdia, Mallorca) Argos (Port de Pollença, Mallorca)   BASQUE COUNTRY NEW: Amelia (Donostia, San Sebastián) NEW: Eneko (Larrabetzu, Vizcaya) Boroa (Amorebieta, Vizcaya) Etxebarri (Axpe, Vizcaya) Etxanobe (Bilbao) Mina (Bilbao, Vizcaya) Nerua (Bilbao,Vizcaya) Zarate (Bilbao) Zortziko (Bilbao) Kokotxa (San Sebastián) Mirador de Ulía (San Sebastián) Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Álava) Andra Mari (Galdácano, Vizcaya) Elkano (Guipúzcoa) Alameda (Fuenterrabía, Guipúzcoa) Zuberoa (Oyarzun, Guipúzcoa) Zaldarián (Vitoria)   CANARY ISLES NEW: Nub (Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) Abama Kabuki (Guía de Isora, Santa Cruz de Tenerife) El Rincón de Juan Carlos (Los Gigantes, Tenerife) Kazan (Tenerife)   CANTABRIA NEW: La Bicicleta (Hoznayo, Cantabria) Solana (Ampuero, Cantabria) El Nuevo Molino (Puente Arce, Santander) El Serbal (Santander)   CASTILLA LA MANCHA NEW: El Doncel (Sigüenza, Castilla-La Mancha) El Bohío (Illescas, Toledo) El Carmen de Montesión (Toledo) Tierra (Toledo)   CASTILLE – LEÓN NEW: Trigo (Valladolid) El Ermitaño (Benavente, Zamora) Cobo Vintage (Burgos) Cocinandos (León) La Botica (Valladolid) La Lobita (Soria) Víctor Gutiérrez (Salamanca) Refectorio (Valladolid) Villena (Segovia) Baluarte (Soria)   CATALONIA NEW: Caelis (Barcelona): regains its star after moving location NEW: Enigma (Barcelona) NEW: Castell Peralada (Peralada, Girona) Les Magnòlies (Arbúcies, Girona) Ca l´Arpa (Banyoles, Girona) Alkimia (Barcelona) Angle (Barcelona) Cinc Sentits (Barcelona) Dos Palillos (Barcelona) Gaig (Barcelona) Hisop (Barcelona) Hofmann (Barcelona) Hoja Santa (Barcelona) Koy Shunka (Barcelona) Nectari (Barcelona) Pakta (Barcelona) Roca Moo (Barcelona) Tickets (Barcelona) Via Veneto (Barcelona) Xerta (Barcelona) Lluerna (Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona) La Boscana (Bellvís) Can Jubany (Calldetenes, Barcelona) Can Bosch (Cambrils, Tarragona) Rincón de Diego (Cambrils, Tarragona) Emporium (Castelló d’Empuries, Girona) Estany Clar (Cercs, Barcelona) Bo.Tic (Corsà, Girona) Malena (Lleida) Massana (Girona) La Fonda Xesc (Gombrén, Girona) Casamar (Llafranc, Girona) Els Tinars (Llagostera, Girona) Tresmacarrons (El Masnou, Barcelona) Sala (Olost, Barcelona) Els Brancs (Platja de Canyelles Petites, Girona) Els Casals (Sagás, Barcelona) L’Ó (Sant Fruitós de Bages, Barcelona) Fogony (Sort, Lleida) La Cuina de San Simon (Tossa de Mar, Girona) L´Antic Molí (Ulldecona) Les Moles (Tarragona) Ca l’Enric (La Val de Vianya, Girona) Villa Retiro (Xerta, Tarragona)   GALICIA Yayo Daporta (Cambados, Pontevedra) Alborada (La Coruña) Árbore da Veira (A Coruña) Culler de Pau (Pontevedra) As Garzas (Malpica de Bergantiños, La Coruña) Nova (Ourense) Solla (Poio, Pontevedra) Pepe Vieira Camiño da Serpe (Raxo, Pontevedra) Retiro da Costiña (Santa Comba, La Coruña) Casa Marcelo (Santiago) Maruja Limón (Vigo)   LA RIOJA NEW: Kiro Sushi (Logroño, La Rioja) Venta Moncalvillo (Daroca de Rioja, La Rioja)   MADRID NEW: La Candela Restò (Madrid) NEW: Cebo (Madrid) El Invernadero (Collado Mediano, Madrid) Álbora (Madrid) A´Barra (Madrid) La Cabra (Madrid) Gaytán (Madrid) Kabuki (Madrid) Kabuki Wellington (Madrid) Lúa (Madrid) Punto MX (Madrid) Montia (Madrid) Chirón (Valdemoro, Madrid)   NAVARRA Europa (Pamplona) Rodero (Pamplona) El Molino de Urdániz (Urdaitz, Navarra)   VALENCIAN COMMUNITY NEW: Sucede (Valencia) NEW: Audrey´s by Rafa Soler (Calp, Alicante) NEW: El Rodat (Xàbia) Monastrell (Alacant) Raúl Resino (Benicarló) Casa Manolo (Valencia) La Finca (Elche, Alicante) Casa Pepa (Ondaira, Alicante) Sents (Ontinyent) El Poblet (Valencia) Ricard Camarena (València) Riff (Valencia) Cal Paradís (Vall d´Alba, Castellón)    PORTUGAL: NEW: Gusto (Almancil, Portugal) NEW: Vista (Praia da Rocha, Portimão, Portugal) São Gabriel (Almancil, Portugal) Henrique Leis (Almancil, Portugal) Bon Bon (Carvoeiro, Portugal) Willie´s (Quarteira, Portugal) Pedro Lemos (Porto, Portugal) Fortaleza do Guincho (Cascais, Portugal) Eleven (Lisbon, Portugal) Feitoria (Lisbon, Portugal) Largo do Paço (Amarante, Portugal) Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (Leça da Palmeira, Portugal) Alma (Lisbon, Portugal) Loco (Lisbon, Portugal) Willian (Madeira/Funchal, Portugal) L´And Vineyards (Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal) Antiqvvm (Porto, Portugal) Lab by Sergi Arola (Sintra, Portugal)   Lost Michelin Stars    As always it’s not all good news […]

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    Are you heading to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this coming February? Or maybe you have a conference or seminar in Barcelona to attend next year?  If so, why not add a few days of well-earned break after (or before) your intense working schedule.  A Gourmand Breaks private food, wine and cultural tour may be just what you need! Take the opportunity of you travelling to Spain to head out of bustling Barcelona and discover more of the country for a few days, to: the peaceful wine country for fine wines and wineries in Penedes and Priorat the Basque Country to delight in this famous foodie mecca lose yourself in the many museums of Madrid discover the treasures of Andalucia   Make the most of your time in Spain, before or after all your hard work, and enjoy some days of Luxury Food, Wine and Culture on a private Gourmand Breaks Tour.  We have many sample private tour itineraries, of varying length, published on our website to give you some ideas or just drop us line with your time frame and interests and we will custom build your ideal tour.   F.Y.I: The Mobile World Congress hits Barcelona again in 2018 from the 26th of February to the 1st of March 2018        

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    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018 Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou 2018 Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo 2018 Feliz Natal e Feliz Ano Novo 2018 We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy & Prosperous New Year 2018 filled with lots of lovely Food, Wine and Cultural Experiences! With compliments of the festive season from Ursula, Joanne and the Gourmand Breaks team! “Cheers!” from Spain and don’t forget, if a Private Tour of Spain, Portugal and/or SW France for 2018 (or further afield) is on your Christmas list we’ve got lots of options over on our Gourmand Breaks Website

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