A Culinary Tour of Basque Country with John Spence
The Basque region is a haven for lovers of good food and good wine. Located in Northern Spain and bordering France, this gastronomical capital of Spain is also known for its picture-perfect beaches, alluring green landscape, captivating Basque culture and art museums. Join Scott Dunn USA President, John Spence on a tour designed by Mimo Food’s Managing Director and Founder, Jon Warren, that’s truly a feast for the senses. This 11-day trip includes dinner at Michelin-starred restaurants, winery visits, cooking classes with top chefs, an exclusive tapas tour, outings to world-famous art museums and expertly guided tours of charming villages.
Mimo was founded in 2009, in idyllic San Sebastián, Spain. They believe travel should be unique and personal, but most of all, it should be authentic. Mimo provides immersive culinary tours from their gourmet shops and cooking classes in their luxury cooking school located at Hotel Maria Cristina. Their team of locals are passionate about sharing their culture, offering a taste of its delicious dishes, and welcoming you into the Mimo family.
At a Glance
October 2nd - 12th, 2018
Spend your downtime at four lovely, luxurious hotels, the Westin Palace Hotel, Madrid, Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastián, Hotel du Palais, Biarritz, and Hotel Marques de Riscal, Navarra.
Engulf yourself in the magic of Madrid with a panoramic tour, tapas tasting and gourmet market visits.
Feast on unbelievable food at Michelin-starred restaurants across the Basque region.
Become a master chef at a Basque inspired Mimo cooking class, led by expert chefs.
Take in the region's world-famous art at the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum.
Tantalize your taste buds with winery visits, accompanied by sommelier guides.
Explore charming Biarritz and quaint villages in the South of France.
To see a full itinerary for the trip, click here.
$12250 per person (in double occupancy rooms)
Solo travelers welcome, single supplement cost is $3650
First Come, First Serve
This program has a maximum of 16 paying participants.
Did you know?
San Sebastián has a high concentration of Michelin stars. The city has the second most Michelin stars per capita in the world.
Did you know?
The Spanish royal family made sophisticated San Sebastián their summer base in the 19th century.
Did you know?
Since the fifties, the Hollywood elite have flocked to San Sebastián for their annual film festival. A smaller, artier alternative to Cannes.
To register your interest in this trip or to find out more, please email our Europe Expert Gwen at email@example.com or call us on 858 345 1764
John Spence - President, Scott Dunn USA
Having run a successful safari company (Aardvark) for nearly 20 years, John Spence is an expert at designing one-of-a-kind trips for guests all over the world. He joined the Scott Dunn management team in 2016 as President of our USA office in California. He’s lived and worked in Africa and explored the continent on various madcap adventures. John's looking to expand his horizons beyond Africa, after recent inspiring trips to Greece, Peru, France, Alaska and Iceland. Spain is next on his bucket list.
Jon Warren - Managing Director & Founder, Mimo
After working as a city banker in London, Jon took a vacation to San Sebastián and shortly after dropped everything to live in this beautiful city by the sea. While working in hospitality at Villa Soro he recognized the city’s need for a food tourism hub and San Sebastián Food was born. What started as a dream quickly grew from pintxo tours to a bricks-and-mortar location. In autumn of 2014, he moved San Sebastián Food into its new home in the famed Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, with the inauguration of a luxurious gourmet shop and in April 2015, he opened a cooking school. Always hungry, he has expanded the business to include Mimo Sevilla and Mimo Mallorca, under the new name of Mimo. Jon has worked alongside Scott Dunn to create this exclusive and unique journey around the Basque Country. You will have the opportuniy to spend time with Jon in San Sebastián.
Day 1 - October 2nd
This day you’ll arrive in Madrid and begin your culinary adventure. Start off with a guided panoramic city tour through the medieval Austrias area of the city. Then, wander through cobbled streets and squares that are steeped in history. Your tour commences with a Spanish wine tasting led by an expert sommelier at a charming local taberna. For dinner, you’ll head to Botín Restaurant, which has hosted people from royalty and politicians to writers and Hollywood stars. You’ll receive a guided tour of the restaurant followed by a six-course tasting menu dinner including dishes like suckling pig roasted in the original ovens from 1725.
Day 2- October 3rd
Your morning will begin with a culturally fascinating museum visit. Then, amble through the streets of the old city where your guide will take you into bars beloved by locals for their specialties. Your masterful guide will weave a tale of the tastes of Madrid, taking you to both modern and classic bars with contrasting atmospheres that will give you a true flavor of one of Spain’s favorite pastimes. By the end of the tour, you will be a professional tapas hopper. Save room for dinner because this evening you’ll dine at one of Madrid’s Michelin-starred restaurants.
Day 3 - October 4th
Today, you’ll be treated to a guided visit of the Guggenheim Museum. Next, you’ll head to the area’s best-kept secret for lunch, Landa Restaurant. This off-the-beaten-track local gem represents the traditional cooking of the Basque Country. Later in the day, you’ll start your private pintxos (Basque tapas) tasting tour. You’ll dive straight into the culinary heart of the city for a night of eating and drinking unlike any you’ve ever experienced. From fresh prawns to line-caught baby squid to perfectly charred steak, the pintxo hunt changes nightly but always features a range of traditional spots and chic, avant-garde bars. Come thirsty, too, because each pintxo will be paired with the perfect pour, from cider to local whites and reds.
Day 4 - October 5th
A private pintxo cooking class at renowned Mimo Food is first on your itinerary for the day. Finding (and eating) the best pintxos in town is a local sport, and in this class, learn how to replicate these sophisticated snacks at home. You’ll be guided on a cooking journey through the recipes of the most famous streets and bars of San Sebastián’s Old Town, and you’ll learn how to replicate its most talked-about pintxos, from the shrimp kebab at Goiz Argi to the beef cheek at Borda Berri. This night you’ll have the rare opportunity to dine at a gastronomic society (txoko). One of Basque Country's remaining culinary mysteries, these dining societies are curious to outsiders in the know, but remain a fully local secret. Our insider guides, however, have opened their society for you.
Day 5 - October 6th
This is a day packed with culture and food. In the morning, you’ll head to Chillida Leku Museum, where you’ll receive a private tour from the son of world-renowned sculptor Eduardo Chillida. After, you’ll head Just down the coastline from San Sebastián to a beautiful, unique village. Getaria is rich in food culture and history. You’ll start your visit to this little-known gem with a stroll through its cobblestone streets, making your way to its working port. Then, go from the seaside to the countryside, learning about the roots of Basque cuisine at a very special farm. The owner grows some of the rarest heirloom produce in Basque Country. End your day with dinner at a three-Michelin starred restaurant that’s ranked 8th in the world, Arzak.
Day 6 - October 7th
After all the delicious food and cultural experiences, you’ll need some downtime. This morning you’re free to go at your own pace, exploring the city or sailing, golfing and pampering yourself with spa treatments. In the evening, you’ll be treated to an entirely new experience at the Mimo luxury cooking school in San Sebastián. This combines the expertise of Mimo’s full-time sommelier with their head chef, live and in action. Five special wines are perfectly paired with original pintxo creations made with fresh produce, purchased daily at La Bretxa market.
Day 7 - October 8th
Today is all about leisure. Stroll through the glamourous, chic coastal streets of Biarritz, France. Local experts will lead you through Les Halles de Biarritz, the famous food market, whose selection of regional cheeses, wines and seasonal bounty is on another level. You’ll break for a midday aperitif with a distinct local flavor before moving further south to St. Jean de Luz. An enchanting fishing village, where you’ll enjoy an elegant seaside lunch featuring French Basque cuisine and techniques. You’ll have the entire evening to do as you please.
Day 8 - October 9th
You’ll start your morning by exploring the areas of Espelette and Ainhoa in the French Basque Country. Ainhoa is widely considered one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its quaint architecture and lovely surroundings. You will also visit Espelette, a village famed for its pepper. For lunch, you’ll eat at one of the area’s finest restaurants, featuring a menu of typical Basque dishes with a French twist.
Day 9 - October 10th
Wine is the emphasis of today. Take a tour of the Rafael Moneo winery in Spain's Rioja region, the historical buildings that dot the grounds, and ride around the estate in a 4x4 to look at the vines and the surrounding countryside. The visit will be followed by an exclusive lunch planned around the freshest vegetables of the season, which is Navarra’s claim to culinary fame. Next, you’ll visit Hotel Marques de Riscal. Designed by Frank Gehry, this hotel and ‘Wine City’ gleams impressively over the Rioja landscape. Cap off your day with dinner at the prestigious Michelin- Starred Marques de Riscal Restaurant.
Day 10 - October 11th
Visit Laguardia, the medieval Riojan town, and glimpse the other side of Riojan winemaking at one of its traditional bodegas. After this visit, you’ll keep expanding your palate at a second winery, whose tasting will be accompanied by lunch. Then you will move onto nearby Haro, the center of winemaking in the Basque Rioja. You’ll pop into a special winery here, before enjoying dinner at Terete Restaurant.
Day 11 - October 12th
Sadly, this is the final day of your trip. You’ll check out from the hotel, bid adieu to Spain and head to the Bilbao Airport.