The days of Brits scouring Spanish shores for roast dinners and egg and chips are long gone. Many fly off to Spain salivating at the thought of tapas on tap, and would love the opportunity to learn how to make a few of their favourite dishes.
From dedicated learn-to-cook holidays to hotels offering a one-off class to garnish a more mainstream trip, there are plenty of options to consider that will add flavour to a jaunt to Spain.
A number of specialist operators offer full-scale cooking holidays, combining classes with gourmet meals, trips to markets and visits to local producers.
On The Menu, sister company of On The Go tours, has two Spanish itineraries. One is based in Andalusia, staying in a 150-year-old finca (small rural property) in the heart of olive-growing country. There’s time to unwind by the pool, too. The other is in Emporda, Catalonia, and guests will learn to cook Catalan cuisine and visit local vineyards for wine-tastings, as well as going sightseeing with a guide.
Gourmet On Tour is another specialist operator offering commission. It has four itineraries, including short, three-day trips in Seville, Barcelona and San Sebastian, plus a longer holiday based in the latter.
All tours include cooking lessons plus introductions to local cuisine and culinary culture. Managing director Judith von Prockl recommends the itineraries in northern Spain: “San Sebastian has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred chefs, and a wide range of restaurants from amazing tapas bars to world-known gourmet eateries. The seafood is incredible. Even the French come across the border to eat here!”
Cookery holidays are just one of the options offered by Go Learn To. The operator can offer agents commission if pre-agreed, with different programmes based on numbers. Email email@example.com to find out more.
Day cooking courses are on offer in Malaga and Barcelona, and longer itineraries in Valencia, Malaga and Granada. In the latter, guests can combine cooking with horse riding for a double-themed trip.
In Spain, Go Learn To also has yoga and pilates holidays; flamenco, tango and other dancing itineraries; painting and photography-focused trips; Spanish language courses and active holidays, including horse-riding, surfing and scuba-diving.
Cox & Kings offers a La Rioja Wine tour in September, led by a local expert. The five-day trip includes wine tours, tastings and gourmet dining. The lead-in price is £1,245. Save £50 if you book by June 30.
Clients who wouldn’t want to dedicate an entire holiday to food will often still like the idea of spending a morning or afternoon learning to cook a few traditionally Spanish dishes, before getting the chance to eat them. Many Spanish hoteliers have cottoned on to this and offer options that are commissionable to agents.
Three-star Quinta de San Amaro is in Galicia, northwestern Spain, surrounded by vineyards and not far from the sea. It offers a cooking workshop, starting with a visit to a local fish market with the hotel chef before a lesson preparing dishes from scratch, which are then served for lunch.
The hotel sommelier explains the character of local wines, and how to pair them with food. From €289 for a seven-hour workshop plus one night’s accommodation, including 20% commission.
Riojan property Echaurren calls itself a gastronomic hotel, and it’s little wonder. The sleek boutique in historic Ezcaray has only 25 rooms, but four restaurants, one of which carries a Michelin star.
Guests can spend a morning in the kitchen with the head chef, getting a front-row view from the moment the ingredients are delivered and prepared to when the dishes arrive on the table for the three-course tasting lunch.
A one-night package, including breakfast, the kitchen experience and tasting lunch with wine starts from £311, including 20% commission. echaurren.com
It’s not all about eating. Clients can pick up sporting skills on holiday in Spain too. Any hotel with a golf course can organise lessons, but if customers want a more structured, intensive programme, they could choose a tailored holiday.
The most famous sporting resort in Spain is La Manga Club, a vast resort in Murcia. The tennis centre has 28 courts and has played host to the Davis Cup, there are tennis academies for adults and juniors, and tennis tournaments and social events.
The golfing facilities are equally developed, with three 18-hole courses and academies, and tournaments, so whatever standard your clients are, there’ll be something to suit.
Those travelling alone, whether they be singles or simply those whose interests differ from their partner’s, could opt for a trip with Solo’s. The operator offers a range of golfing trips in Spain, from Learn to Play Golf options to Handicap Players’ Weeks. These are all at Novo Sancti Petri, home to three courses on the Costa de la Luz.
For a less focused programme, Mallorca Farmhouses offers selection of properties across the island with private tennis courts.
Gourmet On Tour offers a five-night Northern Spain for Gastronomes tour from €1,720, including B&B in four and five-star hotels, a guide, some lunches and dinners, one cookery class, one wine-tasting, a dossier with recipes, tours, a gourmet gift and private transfers, but excluding flights. gourmetontour.com, 020 7558 8796
Kuoni offers seven nights’ B&B at Hotel La Manga Club Principe Felipe, including flights with Iberia from Heathrow, private transfers and a lounge in the UK from £886 in October. Sports can be booked in resort. kuoni.co.uk, 01306 747008
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.