An Insider’s RoadTrip with Kate Hill to Southern Spain
April 24-30, 2020
Cadiz. El Puerto de Santa MAria. Jerez. Conil de la Frontera. Jabugo. Los Marines. Arcenas
Insider’s RoadTrips were created to satisfy that culinary wanderlust that strike me like clockwork in the late Spring and Summer. For me, there is no better medicine than a journey south, always south, one that leads us through the South of Spain, into the coastal edges of Andalucía in April or May. Join me for some sunshine, sherry and salty almonds on a jaunt across an unfamiliar landscape. Come along to eat, cook, learn, and play in some of Spain’s most delicious countryside and our favorite places beyond Seville: Aracena, Jabugo, Jerez, El Puerto de Santa Maria, and Cadiz.
I am always on the lookout for good small cafés and bars with regional food, exquisite flavors, and character. Step up to the counter and order a sherry or sit on a sidewalk café and taste the tapas of the area- ham, fish, olives, almonds.
I want to walk the fields and farms that produce the food we eat; understanding the soil, the climate and all the geography that means pigs make great hams here. The dehesa is a jigsaw puzzle of these elements: land, trees, fruit, pigs rain, salt, and man.
A highlight of this exploration of Andalucía is our stay at Finca Buenvino in the Sierra de Aracena near Jabugo where Jamon is King. Jeannie and Sam Chesterton share some of their Andaluz specialities from the Finca Buenvino Cookbook.
From the oak covered dehesa where black pigs fatten for noted houses like Cinco Jotas (5 J’s) Bellota 100% acorn fed ham to the coastal fishing ports of Cadiz where Michelin star chefs celebrate the Mediterranean bounty- fresh prawns, prime tuna, sardines, and even microscopic plankton, I have fallen under the spell of the diverse dishes and tables of Andalucía. Moorish influences still resonate in the safron and spices, and the simplest produce is ennobled with golden green olive oil.
Whether you like to cook, eat, photograph or just experience a new place with like-minded folks, I have designed my Insider’s RoadTrips with you in mind. Stay in charming inns, eat great food, and explore the behind the scenes of a different culture with people who know and love it best. Here’s a little overview of where we go.
Day 1. Friday Meet me in Cadiz for a first afternoon promenade along the seacoast and in and out of Cadiz’s little neighborhood shops and tapas bars. Our charming and comfortable Hotel Casa de la Cuatro Torres is located just off the Plaza de España and just a two minute walk to the seawall where we watch the ferries sail to the Grand Canary Islands. This is a good departure for our own adventure so we’ll plot a week of eating and learning about all of those Andaluz specialities- almonds, olives, jamón, tuna, and sherry, of course!
Day 2 Saturday Cadiz calls us from her many ornate towers. A morning guided walking tour leads us to the bustling fish market and all the small cafes nearby. Lunch will be plucked from the nearby sea, grilled and served to us within minutes. Enjoy an afternoon break before we slip across the water to a magical three-star Michelin evening at Angel Leon’s Aponiente here in El Puerto de Santa Maria. I fell in love here when they served me a glass of stars. I can’t wait to take you.
Day 3 Sunday- We’ll head down the Costa de la Luz to discover the small ports and towns that service the Almadraba Tuna Harvest which has just begun. Look for my article on cooking with the Almadraba tuna in Saveur’s Summer Issue 2020. Since I did all the research last year, I can take you to eat some of the best tuna in the world, right where it is caught and brought in for auction. I met the chef from El Nautico de Conil at the market while buying tuna so, of course, we’ll have a late Spanish Sunday Lunch there before heading back to Cadiz for an quiet Sherry in the local bar. Discover why they call it the Costa de la Luz. Light dinner at Restaurante Balandro near our Hotel.
Day 4 Monday Late Morning depart Cadiz for Jerez to discover the world of sherry at one of the premium bodegas in the area; an extended luncheon tasting with the cellar master and sommelier who takes us on a Sherry journey from aperitif to after lunch digestif. In the afternoon we’ll head northwest to the Sierra hills and ham country around Jabugo. We stay three nights at the charming Finca Buenvino in Los Marines hosted by Sam and Jeannie Chesterton. Long time residents of this part of Spain, Jeannie is a wealth of culinary lore and offers us a chance to cook in a traditional Spanish kitchen- her style. Sam is a host par excellence and the evening Sherry Hour begins when he pours from his collection of fabled crystal decanters. Dinner in the beautiful woodworked dining room.
Day 5 Tuesday Our personal guide Jago Chesterton in Jabugo at the Cinco Jotas Iberico Ham house has arranged a special day that begins on the dehesa with the black footed pigs and ends in the tasting rooms under a ceiling of swinging hams. Everything you wanted to know to understand the many levels of good to great hams produced in this region of Spain. We eat the best at lunch in a farmhouse. quiet afternoon and evening followed by a light supper at Finca Buenvino.
Day 6 Wednesday A day of Andaluz cooking with star chefs Jeannie and her son Charlie in her own kitchen. Working from the gorgeous Finca Buenvino Cookbook, they teach the Spanish basics as well as fabulous tips special to Andalusian cuisine. After a lunch, we’ll relax and look forward to a private Olive Oil tasting with expert guidance followed by an evening of completing our cooking class, aperitivos, and dining on the top of the world.
Day 7 Thursday Fond farewells over breakfast with a jar of Jeannies special Seville orange marmalade tucked in my bag, we drive back to Seville or on to your further adventures. We’ll keep in touch and do it again. Soon. Adios!
*I suggest that if you want more time in Seville you book extra days at the beginning or ending of this week; We have a great local guide who will work with you. Just let us know!
2020 Dates are April 24-30 2020- 7 days and 6 nights
Small group maximum 7
5450€ per person private room and bathroom; 5250€ per person shared room and bathroom.
Includes: Seven days/six nights completely private small group tour (maximum seven guests) with six nights luxury accommodation; all full breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with wine including one Three-star Michelin dinner; ground transportation to and from the meeting points (Seville); private guides, all entrance fees, tastings and cooking classes. We are happy to work with your travel agent to make your travel easy and comfortable. Just ask.
Not included: airfare or transportation to the meeting points (Seville); personal purchases at hotels including mini-bars, bars, etc; other transportation as required or desired- taxis, shuttles, etc; gratuities (hotel room service or private guides); travel insurance (recommended and see booking form for suggestions).
To reserve a space on this RoadTrip with Kate, request a Booking Form and Payment information below. There are only 7 reserved spaces available on each tour unless previous arrangements have been made. Adult solo travelers as well as couples are more than welcome. Interested in a Women Only RoadTrip? Just ask us!