The World’s Best Restaurants 2018 have recently been announced and once again Europe features high up in the list and in fact  all the Top 3 Restaurants 2018 are European !!!!

(Skip to the bottom for the FULL list of the World’s Best Restaurants 2018 or read on to find out all the World’s TOP 3 Restaurants over the years)

worlds best 50

The Worlds Best Restaurants List has been around for a quite a few years! and is organised and compiled by Restaurant magazine and sponsored by S Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards and List,  now in its 16th year,  is an annual recollection of the opinions and experiences of over 900 international restaurant industry experts and is attended by the world’s finest chefs, international media and the world’s most influential restaurateurs.

After 13 years of being presented in London, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List Ceremony went on tour! First to New York, then to Melbourne and this year to Bilbao, Spain. Where in the World will the World’s 50 Best Restaurants be presented from in 2019????? We’ll let you know when we find out …

In the meantime here’s a look back over the last few years at all  the World’s TOP 3 Restaurants  from 2002 -> 2018:

World's Number ONE Restaurant 2018 + 2016

World’s Number ONE Restaurant 2018 + 2016


  1. Osteria Francescana (Italy)
  2. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  3. Mirazur (France)



  1. Eleven Madison Park (USA)
  2. Osteria Francescana (Italy)
  3. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)



  1. Osteria Francescana (Italy)
  2. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  3. Eleven Madison Park (USA)



  1. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  2. Osteria Francescana (Italy)
  3. Noma (Denmark)



  1. Noma (Denmark)
  2. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  3. Osteria Francescana (Italy)


El Celler de Can Roca sign

World’s Number ONE Restaurant in 2015 + 2013



  1. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  2. Noma (Denmark)
  3. Osteria Francescana (Italy)



  1. Noma (Denmark)
  2. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  3. Mugaritz (Spain)



  1. Noma (Denmark)
  2. El Celler De Can Roca (Spain)
  3. Mugaritz (Spain)



  1. Noma (Denmark)
  2. El Bulli (Spain)
  3. The Fat Duck (UK)



  1. El Bulli (Spain)
  2. The Fat Duck (UK)
  3. Noma (Denmark)


El Bulli

World’s Number ONE Restaurant in 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 + 2002



  1. El Bulli (Spain)
  2. The Fat Duck (UK)
  3. Pierre Gagnaire (France)



  1. El Bulli (Spain)
  2. The Fat Duck (UK)
  3. Pierre Gagnaire (France)



  1. El Bulli (Spain)
  2. The Fat Duck (UK)
  3. Pierre Gagnaire (France)



  1. The Fat Duck (UK)
  2. El Bulli (Spain)
  3. The French Laundry (USA)



  1. The French Laundry (USA)
  2. The Fat Duck (UK)
  3. El Bulli (Spain)



  1. The French Laundry (USA)
  2. El Bulli (Spain)
  3. Le Luis XV, Alain Ducasse (Monaco)



  1. El Bulli (Spain)
  2. Gordon Ramsey (UK)
  3. The French Laundry (USA)


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FULL LIST 1 – 50 World’s  Best Restaurants 2018 here ->…/results-worlds-50-best-res…/


FULL LIST 51 – 100 World’s  Best Restaurants 2018 here ->…/worlds-50-best-restaurants…/


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We, Gourmand Breaks,  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-designed quote!


The leading French wine region of Bordeaux is THE place for the wine lover and home to some of the most sought-after and expensive wines in the world!! With more appellations than any other wine region in the world, incredible wineries, impressive wine chateaux and more than 7000 wine producers and 13,000 wine growers,  you cannot be bored in Bordeaux :-)



Bordeaux’s reputation as a great wine region rests on its most superb reds, legendary and long-lived wines made by historic wine estates (chateaux), which can improve for several decades. About 75 to 80 percent of Bordeaux’s wines are red, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which give vigor, tannin and excellent cellaring qualities, and Merlot which brings a softness and suppleness. White wines are produced mostly from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and sometimes also Muscatel.

Bordeaux spreads 60 miles around the city, of the same name, on the biggest estuary in Europe along 3 rivers: Gironde, Garonne and Dordogne, creating the appropriate setting for wine production.

Bordeaux has 60 separate, distinct, unique appellations but the most famous and important appellations, from North to South, are the Medoc, also known as the Left Bank, Pessac Leognan and the most prestigious regions of the Right Bank: St. Emilion and Pomerol and Sauternes and Barsac.

The Medoc or the Left Bank

The Medoc is perhaps the most famous Bordeaux appellation and here you will find the famous appellations of Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux, Haut Medoc, Listrac, and Moulis.

This is the region of the legendary Grand Cru Classé 1855 and Cru Bourgeois and is home to the famous First Growth estates and big chateaux that make breathtaking wines, with prices to match. Smaller, more modest, chateaux can also be enjoyed as they  can also make some of the world’s most compelling wines.

The beautiful chateaux route or “Route des Châteaux” will find you passing more magnificent châteaux, famous wineries and vineyards than any other wine route and include such estates: Lafite, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Pichon-Longueville and Cos d’Estournel.

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape rules here on the gravely soil and ripens to perfection and is blended mostly with Merlot to provide a structured, aromatic and harmonious wine.



Pessac Leognan, before 1987, was originally known as Graves, due to the gravely soil on which the vines grow.

Branded as the “cradle of Bordeaux-wines” some of the chateaux date back to the middle Ages and very particular to this appellation is that some chateaux and their vineyards are situated in the suburbs of the city of Bordeaux!

Pessac Leognan produces some of the most elegant, refined, perfumed and age worthy wines in all of Bordeaux. And not only sublime red, Bordeaux wine, but the appellation is also known for producing the best dry white wine, primarily from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, in the entire Bordeaux region.


Pomerol and St. Emilion

Saint Emilion and Pomerol are the most important Bordeaux appellation’s of the Right Bank, home of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The chateaux may not be as big and grand as the top chateau of the Medoc but the wines are equally stunning – often called opulent, rich and decadent – and can be even more expensive.

Pomerol is a small appellation with big wines.  The wines are sometimes made of 100% merlot thanks to the special clay soil of Pomerol with iron layers and accompanying microclimate.

Saint-Emilion is as well-known for its medieval village as for its wine. The Grand Cru Classé chateaux from Saint-Emilion as well as the lesser known chateaux are notably smaller than in the Médoc but they still make delicious wine with great finesse.

Saint Emilion actually consists of two appellations, St. Emilion Grand Cru and St. Emilion and also situated nearby are the appelations of Puisseguin St. Emilion, Lussac St. Emilion, Montagne St. Emilion and St. Georges St. Emilion – known as the St. Emilion Satellite Appelations.

Saint-Emilion is also an exceptionally attractive small town with the history of the town dating back almost 2000 years when the Romans planted vineyards here as early as the 2nd century AD. However, Saint-Émilion itself dates from the 8th century when a Breton Monk called Emilion came to settle here in a hermitage carved into the rock. The cave where he lived from 750 – 767 AD subsequently became a pilgrim destination.

To really appreciate Saint-Emilion you need to descend underground to see the catacombs which were used for Christian burials from the 8th to the 10th century; a ‘monolithic’ church that was carved out of the rock in the 9th century and the ‘grotte de l’Ermitage’ in which Saint-Emilion spent the last 17 years of his life.


Sauternes and Barsac

In the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, there are five villages, of which Barsac is the only one that is allowed to use the village name to identify the famous sweet wines of the region, produced from rotten grapes.

Known around the world for producing some of the best sweet, white wines from any wine region,  in general, Sauternes tends to be a little fuller than Barsac, which has higher acidity.

It is difficult to make good Sauternes and Barsac, as the noble rot of the grapes is essential, so as not to ruin the grape but dry it out, for which the special microclimate with fog in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon.

Other Bordeaux appellations also produce sweet wine but not to the level of the Sauternes appellation – the dominant producer, with close to 50% of all the sweet wine made in Bordeaux.



Join us on a wonderful private wine tour to include Bordeaux such as our sample Essentially Wine – Spain & France Tour and you too could raise your glass with a “santé” and sip fine wine along the left bank of the Gironde !


Welcome New Year!

One we hope is full of cheer

And of far travels for you

And great experiences too!

Dream that two thousand 18

Brings you sights you’ve not seen?

And tastes of local food,

Or dining a la Michelin mood?

Dream of Portugal, Spain,

Stroll a French country lane?

Take a walk through the vines

And sip fine top class wines?

Well, there’s no need to dream,

Contact your Gourmand Breaks team

As we’ve got lots to share

To take your dream there.

Nerua Interior



At Gourmand Breaks we are specialist Food, Wine and Cultural Private Tour creators, custom designing exclusive trip itineraries just for you!

On our website you will find many great sample Food, Wine and Cultural Private Tours in Spain, Portugal and SW France, to give you ideas. But, remember, while these samples are all “ready to wear” we can modify any to suit your preferences or build your personal ideal Private Food, Wine and Cultural Tour Itinerary from scratch!

Don’t delay, contact us today :-)


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!

From Crasto Winery Barrels

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!

The Dordogne region of France has literally hundreds of caves, many of them open to visit.

Grotte Du Grand Roc


The most important caves in France are here, located near the village of Montignac, called the Lascaux caves. The original cave has been closed to the public for more than 50 years and is now under close surveillance in order to preserve it. However, a replica cave has been built nearby, Lascaux II, and is open to visit. In its 2 galleries the same paintings, same techniques and same pigments have been meticulously reproduced to enable everybody to discover the prehistoric masterpieces.

Lascaux cave paintings

The Grotte de Rouffignac is one of the largest caves in the region. It is a development of about eight kilometers of galleries on three levels – some are ten meters high, others just 12 meters wide. Apart from a small brook, running along the deepest galleries, most of the network is totally fossil with friezes of woolly rhinos, engravings of mammoths and hollows scratched out by hibernating bears.

The town of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac  sits comfortably under a limestone cliff and is the doorway to the prehistoric capital of France. Early Homo sapiens lived about 40,000 years ago, and skeletal remains of Cro-Magnon man were first found here in 1868. Today a number of excavated caves and grottoes are open for public viewing.

Les Eyzies

The Grotte du Grand Roc, just a few kilometers from the town of Les Eyzies, is a marvellous natural cave located half way up a cliff face above the Vezere river. It contains amazing stalactites and stalagmites. The main cavern is a fairy grotto but never enters out into a large space – it is more of a winding pàssage with thousands of tiny and small stalactites on either side clinging to the ceilings and crystallized rivers of calcified rock running down the walls.

But, there’s so much more!!!!!!

Grotte de Rouffignac

Staying within the triangle of Perigueux, Bergerac and Sarlat, you will be able to explore the beautiful Dordogne region of France on a Gourmand Breaks Private Tour Itinerary.

The South West of France is easy to combine with Spain and, as all our tours are private,  we can happily customize any of our Spain and France Food, Wine and Cultural Tours to include the Dordogne region of France for you.

Nouvelle Cuisine, when mentioned, brings thoughts of small plates of food that many feel will see you leaving a restaurant with a lot less money and a lot more hunger than when you went in!!!  But, is this true?  What is sure, is that this French revolution has spread all over the World but, is Nouvelle Cuisine for everyone ? for the Gourmands? or just for the Gourmets? or is it a chance for a personal culinary experience that will excite the tastebuds and leave memories for a lifetime?

Nouvelle cuisine 

The term “nouvelle cuisine” has been used several times in the history of French cuisine, to mark a  break with the past, with tradition.  In the 1700’s several French writers emphasized this break with tradition, calling the new cooking style  “modern” or “new”.  In the 1880s and 1890s, the cooking of Georges Auguste Escoffier was sometimes described with the term.

Today, the French term “Nouvelle Cuisine” is  attributed to authors Henri Gault, Christian Millau, and André Gayot,who used nouvelle cuisine to describe the cooking of Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Michel Guérard, Roger Vergé, and Raymond Oliver, many of whom were once students of Fernand Point. Paul Bocuse claimed that Gault first used the term to describe the food that he prepared, along with other top chefs, for the maiden flight of  Concorde in 1969.

The style that Gault and Millau wrote about was a reaction to the French cuisine classique placed into “orthodoxy” by Escoffier.  Calling for greater simplicity and elegance in creating dishes, nouvelle cuisine is not cuisine minceur (“thin cooking”), which was created by Michel Guérard as spa food.  It is thought that World War II was a significant contributor in the creation of the phenonenom of nouvelle cuisine, as  there was a short supply of animal protein during the German occupation hence the need to experiment.

Gault and Millau “discovered the formula” contained in ten characteristics of this new style of cooking. The ten characteristics of “Nouvelle Cuisine” were identified as:

  • A rejection of excessive complication in cooking.
  • Cooking times for most fish, seafood, game birds, veal, green vegetables and pâtés were greatly reduced in an attempt to preserve the natural flavors. Steaming was an important trend from this characteristic.
  • The cuisine was made with the freshest possible ingredients.
  • Large menus were abandoned in favor of shorter menus.
  • Strong marinades for meat and game ceased to be used.
  • They stopped using heavy sauces such as espagnole and béchamel in favor of seasoning their dishes with fresh herbs, high quality butter, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  • They used regional dishes for inspiration instead of cuisine classique dishes.
  • New techniques were embraced and modern equipment was often used; Bocuse even used microwave ovens.
  • The chefs paid close attention to the dietary needs of their guests through their dishes.
  • The chefs were extremely inventive and created new combinations and pairings

Nouelle cuisine dessert

Today Nouvelle Cuisine is Worldwide and plays a part in many kitchens. It is an art, a science, an explosion of sensation and a treat for the tastebuds that has foodies and the general public alike craving the escapism that it provides from everyday life. 

Join us on a Gourmet Private tour of Spain and/or Portugal  to escape into a Gourmet World of sublime enjoyment.

chateau pape clement winery Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage site with over three hundred classified historic edifices and is, many say, though we in Spain beg to differ a little, a centre to the world’s most spectacular wines and food.  If you do visit the city of Bordeaux, don’t miss out on having a stroll through the Place de la Comédie, which sits atop the ancient Roman forum. Admire the beautiful Read more

Where are Gourmand Breaks’ clients today?   Having just spent a few heady days in San Sebastian, they are on their way to the Emporda Region in Northern Catalonia, but are stopping overnight in the ancient walled City of Carcassonne in France.  Read more

The Bordeaux answer to Bilbao’s Guggenheim was revealed recently, we feel it could look like a thumb or a decanter or even wine swirling in a glass – what do you think?

Read more