Catalan cusine was the most awarded of the night at the 2010 Michelin Star Awards with Celler de Can Roca, Lasarte, Les Cols, Enoteca, La Fonda Xesc, Bo.Tic, El Torreó de l’Indià as the big 2010 winners.

The big announcement was made public last night before an impatient crowd of chefs, politicians, journalists and friends at the San Miguel market in Madrid. Guests were able to savor the cuisine of Santi Santamarina, Oscar Velasco, Paco Roncero and Sergi Arola, among others.

After several years of disappointment in the gastronomic field, which claimed the highest recognition to what is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the world, yesterday chefs and critics could deservedly say “at last!”.

Michelin finally granted 3 stars to Girona´s Celler de Can Roca, run by the Roca brothers, Joan, Josep and Jordi and favorite of Gourmand Breaks clients. Read more

The critically acclaimed American wine connoisseur, Robert Parker,  was at the Winefuture ‘09 in Logroño last week to do what he does best: enlighten us with his always valued wine tastings.

One would probably expect Robert Parker to be distant, but on the contrary, he is rather modest and cheerful. He transmits he is cultured and wise, yet complex-free. Read through this interesting interview with the world’s most renowned wine critic.

He was asked how wine and its consumption are evolving, since many worry about that in Spain. Read more

Everyone -from renowned chefs to top cuisine connoisseurs- is in great expectation  to find out if the 2 time Michelin star awarded Celler de Can Roca restaurant in Girona will be at last privileged with a third star in 2009. Read more

At Gourmand Breaks we like to keep up to date and recently paid a visit to check-out the trendiest most fashionable hotel everyone in town is talking about, the W Hotel. 

The hotel also known as Hotel Vela, is an avant-garde icon created by world-famous Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. It rises above the spectacular beachfront in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most stylish and cosmopolitan cities. Read more


The Roca brothers at El Celler de Can Roca, recently ranked by Restaurant Magazine as the 5th best restaurant in the world, opened their doors for private cooking class for the first time since its’ existence.

Who were the first lucky students to learn the latest culinary techniques from arguably two of the best Avant-Garde chefs in Spain, and perhaps the world? None other than Kent Rathbun, highly acclaimed Dallas chef, with his annual group of tour guests. Rathbun owns and operates a number of the popular restaurants in Texas, namely Abacus and Shinshei, among others. Each year he offers a chance to travel to different parts of the world on a culinary tour with him and his wife, Tracy.

This year’s ten day tour, organized by Gourmand Breaks, began in Barcelona, Spain, and the proverbial cherry on top was the cooking class at El Celler de Can Roca. In this case, that cherry was created from liquid nitrogen. That’s right – after the guests were greeted by Spanish chefs Joan and Jordi Roca, head chef and pastry chef respectively, Jordi began the presentation right away and formed a sorbet of cherries into a ball. He then submerged them into a vat gelatin and a vat of liquid nitrogen and froze the entirety of the contents instantaneously; everyone’s jaws dropped in awe. He then added an actual cherry stem to the top to create the illusion of a real cherry and gave the guests the opportunity to make their own. Quite obviously an artisan of insinuation himself, Jordi creates several other illusionary dishes, which play on all five senses. For example, like watching a magician perform, he uses a blown sugar ball to produce the appearance of an apricot. The delicately thin orb assumes the role of the skin, while compacted fruit on the inside takes place of the flesh of an apricot. Absolutely delightful!

The Roca brothers’ say it best on their website – “Cooking is an art of make believe. Of appearances. Things that look like other things. Things that take the shape of what they intend to be, but with no extrapolation implied in such imitation. The art of insinuating.”

Spanish Chef Joan Roca picked up from there and led the group to the meat station where he demonstrated the technique of cooking at a low temperature over a long period of time known as sous-vide cooking. Joan demonstrated how one of Spain’s most traditional dishes, the acclaimed Iberian suckling pig, can turn out incredibly perfect with the help of the Roner and company. The professional Roner, created by Joan, uses precise mathematical time and temperature control to cook sous-vide. These days, modern chefs around the world find the Roner absolutely indispensable to maintain the integrity of the product and to ensure a perfect result every single time. As a matter of fact, Joan has concocted another device, the Rotoval, which is a distillation machine adapted for kitchen use. It’s amazing how the traditional recipes carefully preserved by generations of Roca family chefs combined with state of the art devices lead to dishes of astonishing perfection!

The Gourmand Breaks privileged clients were later treated to the delicious lunch and witnessed with their own taste buds the perfect harmony of modern and traditional cuisine. After the unique experience of an afternoon in the Roca brothers kitchen, one can fully appreciate their enormous contribution to the development of avant-garde cuisine worldwide. It is no wonder they are considered one of the top restaurants in the world.

For additional information about visiting El Celler de Can Roca or other such prestigious restaurants for a cooking class of your own or to visit on your very own customized Spanish culinary tour visit the Gourmand Breaks Website. 



Yesterday Restaurant Magazine announced the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2009 based on polls from over 800 chefs, critics, and other industry leaders. At the top of the list is none other than Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, located right here in the Costa Brava. Considering that three of the top five to make the list are Spanish restaurants, Adria accepted this prestigious award saying that it has been “an important night for Spain”. He then went on to dedicate his honorable prize to The Fat Duck’s Heston Blumenthal, at number two on the list, who he said “has shown me what honesty means in this business”.

The celebrated restaurant is open for just six months of the year, and of the 2 million patrons who request a visit each season, just 8000 will enjoy this truly surrealistic culinary experience. Surrealism at its’ best embraces opportunities to create unexpected combinations and elements of surprise and is typically characterized by fantastic imagery. The notorious Ferran Adria and his professional team at El Bulli create just these kind of unpredictable juxtapositions, some of the most curious, yet innovative dishes ever invented.  From abalone with iberian pork fat, to grilled strawberries, and gorgonzola moshi, the cuisine at El Bulli will surely indulge, surprise, and delight every single one of your senses, and perhaps even find your sixth sense as well!

The Top 10:

  1. El Bulli, Spain
  2. The Fat Duck, U.K.
  3. Noma, Denmark
  4. Mugaritz, Spain
  5. El Celler de Can Roca, Spain
  6. Per Se, U.S.
  7. Bras, France
  8. Arzak, Spain
  9. Pierre Gagnaire, France
  10. Alinea, U.S.

With 4 of the top 10 restaurants voted best in the world located in Northern Spain, you have to wonder if there is something in the air here! Perhaps there is some truth to the legend that the tramuntana winds, typical of this region, breed creativity. Blowing at over 120 mph and containing an unusually high amount of oxygen, the majestic brilliance of the skies that remain after this strong wind has passed has inspired some of the most creative geniuses of our time, including Salvador Dali, Gaudi, the Adria brothers, as well as the Roca brothers at El Celler de Can Roca right here at our home in Girona.

Rising 21 spots from 2008, El Celler de Can Roca has made it to #5 on the list, being the single restaurant to make the highest jump toward the top.  The three Catalan brothers’ varying expertise complement each other perfectly to create a special meal that will surely be unforgettable. From Chef Joan’s innovative combination of modernity and classic Catalan cuisine, to Josep’s perfect wine pairings, to Jordi’s mouth-watering desserts, you will remember your dining experience at El Celler de Can Roca for years to come.

Spain is host to a whole number number of the world´s most famous restaurants including Murgaritz (no.3) and Arzak (no.8) both in San Sebastian. If you would like to experience some of the best restaurants Spain has on offer then our Ultimate Gourmet Tour is perfect for sophisticated diners who are looking to experience the best of Spanish cuisine.


That ‘ruby’ in fact, better known as Heretat Mont-rubí and roughly translated as ‘Ruby Mountain’, is the first vineyard in the entire world to produce a single variety wine from the obscure Sumoll grape. And we must say, superbly done!

Sumoll is a red grape variety currently grown on only 100 hectares of land throughout the whole world. Winding through the rocky, tree-covered hills surrounded by vines as far as the eye can see, you will make your way through the Penedés DO region where you will find a great deal of these rare vines at the quaint, family-owned cellar of Heretat Mont-rubí. Situated some 500 meters above sea level where the soil and climate are optimum for growing this particular variety, great care is taken to create the perfect result: a delicious, cherry-flavored, dry red wine with hints of raspberry and vanilla.

Heretat Mont-rubí uses entirely manual procedures throughout the fermentation process, including sampling grapes in the vineyard itself to ensure harvest is at the ideal time. The Spanish wines here are aged in oak barrels and separated by grape variety, and even according to the particular estate of which they are contributed from. The overall mineral quality of the final Spanish wine makes the tasting experience feel as if you could be drinking luscious cherry juices streaming from a stony brook.

To discover something rare and unknown to much of the world is like finding a diamond in the rough – you want to grab hold of it and keep it to yourself! However we at Gourmand Breaks would love to share this  “ruby in the rough”  with you!

Visit the Penedes Wine Region of Spain on a private tour like our  Wine Lovers Tour of Spain and Portugal, covering the La Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Priorat and Penedes Wine DO Regions in Spain PLUS Portugal and the beautiful Douro Valley and historic Porto.


Costa Brava. Calella de PalafrugellCalella, songs Cuban in summer time

Hidden away from mass tourism, unlike some unfortunate resorts further down the shore by Barcelona, the neighboring villages of Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc offer a relaxing break from Spain’s busier spots. On a Gourmand Breaks Tour you can enjoy these peaceful fishing villages which have some of the most tranquil seaside walkways in Spain. Visitors get intimate views of a gorgeous blue shoreline while walking past the colorful fishing boats that dot the shore or enjoy meals at several shore-front restaurants- some of which are home to the best seafood on the coast!

Calella de Palafrugell is also known for its havaneres—old songs Cuban immigrant fisherman sung for over 100 years in local taverns. Before the tradition completely died out in the 1960s, the community started a summer festival to celebrate the custom and it is still popular to this day. On Sant Joan’s Day in June, Calella de Palafrugell lights up with exciting fireworks that are especially charming from a terrace overlooking the sea.

A number of Gourmand Breaks private tours include a day trip to Calella de Palafrugell and Llafranc  including our Luxury Mediterranean Cuisine Tour – perfect for those who don´t like to stray too far from the sea and like to spend relaxing afternoons feasting on some of the best seafood in Spain!

Picada stewCatalan Cuisine

The traditional Spanish Picada is one of the most essential parts of Catalan Cuisine. After grinding herbs, oils, nuts or other ingredients with a wooden pestle inside of a thick yellow and green ceramic mortar, the picada’s mission is to perfectly accent the natural flavors of the fresh produce or seafood it is complementing. As one crushes and releases those aromatic flavors in the mortar, it reminds you of the basic beauty of fresh flavors from fresh products.

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Dali's house and Port Lligat
Just a short drive away from the beautiful fishing town of Cadaqués is Port Lligat, the location of what was Salvador Dalí’s house and art studio. In addition to getting a more intimate picture of the painter himself through kitchy images and rooms he’d use for inspiration,Dali´s house contains original artwork that the world has not seen until recently. The Casa-Museu Dalí, or Dali´s House, as it is called now, opened in 1997 and it was only two years ago that owners opened up the entire house to the public. This is especially a privilege since Dalí only allowed one guest to this private home for the most part–his wife Gala.

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