Established in 1996, we are an incoming tour operator based in Spain; specialists in wine, food, culture, history, art and gourmet travel for discerning voyagers, seeking authenticity at their destinations. We operate only in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, which allows us to ensure the highest standards of all the tour elements involved – we only offer our own and well proven itineraries, we do not subcontract other agencies. Gourmand Breaks is “small enough” to provide our clients with a personal and top quality service, at a reasonable price. Every detail is designed to meet the highest level of attention and professional service. We are not a big firm and neither do we wish to be.

Over the years, we have earned a solid reputation among our providers – they all know we are very exigent and only work with those who compromise to follow our high service standards, but at the same time they know that we are extremely well prepared, methodical and reliable and that our clients are delightful to work with! Having non-negotiable service standards means we often look long and hard before we find unsurpassable activities and excellent guides to include in our trips. But the time invested pays off!

Ursula Gierej
I graduated in Spanish Philology and Tourism and obtained my Diploma in English studies in Cambridge, England, where I lived for 2 years. I founded Gourmand Breaks in 1996 with my husband Juan Capdevila, prior to having worked for many years in the tourism industry in Spain – I built my experience as sales manager/public relations at high-end hotels in the Costa Brava and event agencies in the Barcelona area. Juan and I, when we started the agency, owned a renowned restaurant as well, where I most enjoyed putting together our monthly dinners with Catalan sommeliers, local produce experts, chefs and food writers. We became quite well-known in the area for our passion for local gastronomy. One of our companies also introduced, in the Girona area, the exclusive and avant garde Cacao Sampaka chocolates, with some of their revolutionary recipes made by Ferran Adría’s brother, Albert. Together we also prepared exclusive sailing trips through our small yacht charter company on the Costa Brava (a perfect excuse to relax onboard). I just love to travel and soak in cosmopolitan environments and cultural melting pots – with Juan we moved around the world a good deal before having our two sons, Albert & Alex. Even now, with the boys onboard, we have crossed the ocean many times to the countries our clients come from, following our travel bug (that runs in the family, now our sons just LOVE to travel too!), enjoying the refreshing differences and understanding better and better the idiosyncrasy of our clients countries.

We want to provide you with the best experiences that we believe in for you to meet true locals and discover the culture, good food and fine wine of everywhere you go.

I feel really fulfilled with Gourmand Breaks. This business gave me the opportunity to convert my passion for travel, culture, good food & wine into a profession I feel very lucky to be able to spend a lot of time on my favorite hobby – travelling around Spain, Portugal and SW France and tracking down those special places and people that make our tours so unique – hotels, chefs, wineries, guides and local specialists, artisan producers, restaurants etc. I’m always on the move, looking for unique experiences for our clients. I enjoy our wide network of contacts in the exciting gourmet world of this part of Europe a lot and it makes me happy to think that we somehow contribute to build wonderful lifetime memories for our clients.

Jamaica Bastiras
Born in Australia to a Greek father and Italian mother, I have always felt the pull of southern Europe; its culture in my blood. At the age of 18 I relocated to London to pursue my childhood dream of playing music professionally, and whilst this didn’t go as planned; I discovered a love for travel, meeting people from all over the globe and learning languages. 

Before relocating to Europe, I sought out my Italian Citizenship, knowing that I would travel frequently to Il Bel Paese, as I have family and friends there. As well as a deep connection to Italy, I have always held an affinity for France, travelling there regularly; and love reading, playing music, watching movies and conversing in the French language. 

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages and International Relations (Italian & French), and since moving to Spain, have had the task of (slowly!) learning two more languages at once; Spanish and Catalan! 

My husband is an obsessive cyclist, so of course I too ride a bicycle. This has been a wonderful way to travel around Europe, learning how ‘slow-travel’ and local knowledge really does give the visitor a different way of seeing and experiencing the authenticity of each place – working for Gourmand Breaks ensures that I try to bring this same level of authenticity and personal particularity to each of our clients’ vacations and tours. Discovering quirky, real and beautiful travel experiences has always been something I seek out; so I hope to add this to your Gourmand Breaks tour as well!

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