Local Food & Traditions
The Perfect Opportunity to Feel the Land
Spain, Portugal and SW France all benefit from a mild Mediterranean climate and even though the languages and idiosyncrasies may be different, what they all have in common is a love of the land and outdoor life.
The Jamon eating tradition of Spain dates back to the 15th century, when it proved that you were neither a Muslim nor a Jew, but today’s artisan Iberian Ham is the proud star product of the country! Many family run Iberian Ham producers date back to the 19th century. Iberian pigs still roam freely in the pastures, munching on acorns as they go, with the new generations following in the family footsteps.
Portugal is a historical seafaring nation with a long tradition in the fishing sector. With its long coastline and the vast Atlantic Ocean that lies ahead, fish has been a basic and important product for the Portuguese since, at least, the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
France and especially Bordeaux has a long history of wine making, dating back to Ancient Roman times. To this day, the proud French wine makers are aware of their importance in the world of wine culture and dedicate their lives to preserve the best wine making traditions.
Be it for work or pleasure the locals are outdoorsy. They are influenced by a mild climate so you will come across them sitting and chatting on outdoor terraces in Spanish bars over a cerveza and tapas, over a café au lait at the French cafés and at the pastry shops in Portugal indulging in a strong coffee and a bolo. They are a happy and creative lot: they harvest, they create, they sing and dance, they celebrate and live for their traditions and they eat, drink and be merry. So why not join them?
We truly believe that the only way to really get a complete feel for a country is to employ all your senses, so:
- Amaze at the architecture and the stunning beauty of medieval villages and quaint fisherman towns
- Hear the fascinating stories our guides explain about peculiar customs
– don’t forget to ask your Barcelona guide about the traditional Catalan Christmas Tio!
- Sit in a cosy blue tiled café in Lisbon and drift away to the sounds of the Melancholic Fado folk music of Portugal
- Get your front row seat in a gypsy cave in Granada and experience the fiery gypsy flamenco dancers in passionate action as they dance and sing from the soul!
- In Catalonia marvel at the Catalan Human Castles and try to follow the Sardanes dancing in the village squares
- Have the privilege to mix with rowdy Basque foodies as they feast at Gastronomic Societies
- Experience the difference between the Andalusian tapas & Basque pinchos
- Walk in the steps of the Pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes and Fatima
- Taste the typical foods like Catalan bread with tomato, the delightful cheeses in France and the many cod delicacies in Portugal
- Discover authentic Iberian ham at a Ham Producers and down-to earth olive oil farms to taste its Spanish liquid gold
- Head to the Bordeaux Wine Festival or to Carcassonne for music, theatre and dance at its Summer festival
Immerse yourself in local foods and culture on our Spanish, Portuguese and French tours, the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the land. Here below you will find some of our sample itineraries for your Local Food & Traditions experience in Europe:
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. James Michener