Barcelona

I’m writing about Barcelona because that’s where my culinary tours really took off. I started working for Context Travel, working with Voulez-Vous Diner (now called MamazSocialFood), hosting guests at my apartment for dinners, and blogging about the food scene in Barcelona (link if you want to read my old blog Bon Gust BCN).

While in Barcelona, I lead market, chocolate, and tapas tours throughout the city and to this day I continue to advise travelers on the city and take clients. Besides the beautiful architecture and beaches, they have a unique food culture compared to the rest of Spain. Catalan cuisine has shared a lot of influence with France (just ask which came first, the crema Catalana or the creme brûlée) and unique flavors, such as their love of ‘surf and turf’ and squid ink, which can be found in many dishes.

Oh yes, and the drinks! From cava to Priorat, vermut and local beers…you will drink well.

What I discovered while working in Barcelona, was that I loved sharing local food experiences with people visiting. Where someone might mistake the ‘local’ cuisine to be paella and tapas…which is not Catalan and not local…I was able to introduce to fideua catalane or butifarra. So, I’ve taken this love and have been working for years to create a tour focusing on local cuisine and products in the Bordeaux region (Bazas Farm to Table Tour) which is now also offered through Context Travel. I feel like it’s all come full circle and I’m really looking forward to 2020!

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Tapas Tour of Barcelona – Bodega 1900

If you want some tips on traveling to Barcelona, check out this article on Conde Nast Traveler and avoid the Ramblas any time after 10am. There are so many interesting cultural things to do in the city, so don’t spend all your time in one area. Buy tickets to museums and Sagrada Familia in advance. You can walk everywhere generally, but if you want to use the metro, buy the T-10 metro pass. Try to stay outside of the main old town areas like Gotico, Raval, and Barceloneta if you don’t like a lot of noise. If you are traveling to Barcelona soon, feel free to contact me with any questions!

 

South-West France Desserts

First of all, know that a ‘pain au chocolate’ is called a ‘chocolatine‘. The chocolate filled puff pastry dessert has the same taste, but a different name. Now that we have that covered…the South-West of France, like many parts of the country, has it’s own regional desserts which cannot be missed when you are visiting! Here are some of the best :

Saint-Emilion-Macaron-1.jpgMacarons – The classic macaron people think of when in France, is the Bordeaux or Parisian macaron. This is the pretty, colored and multiple flavored, delicate sandwich of almond-meringue cookies with a special cream or jelly center. Did you know that THE original macaron, the first one made 1620, was actually from Saint-Emilion. The small, idyllic countryside village in the vineyards is also where the first recipe for the Italian style macaron was made, which is almond flour and meringue, often sold on a paper disk.macaron

BUY in Saint Emilion at Les Macarons de Nadia Fermigier in their classic blue and white box at 9 Rue Gaudet. Open 8am-730pm in summer from Monday-Saturday and 9am-730pm on Sunday. Phone +33 (0)5 57 24 72 33 / http://www.macarons-saint-emilion.fr

 

Canele – Maybe you’ve seen the ridged conical shaped dessert and not know what it was. Legend has it that the nuns in Bordeaux created this dessert hundreds of years ago with the scraps from the many trading ships coming into town – vanilla and rum specifically – and the yolks of the eggs left over from winemakers using the whites to purify wine. Traditionally, they are made with copper molds, waxed with bees wax to prevent sticking on the interior which also makes the best for a crunchy exterior and lighter, soft interior.

BUY at the chain Baillardan or even take a class to learn how to make them in Bordeaux at 36 Place Gambetta. Open 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 930am-730pm on Sunday. Phone +33 (0)9 67 79 42 74 / http://www.baillardran.com

 

Dunes Blanches – Essentially a cream puff with crunchydunes-blanches-IMG_5700-1200x800.jpg sugar on the top, sometimes the simpler things in life are the best. Created in Arcachon, a coastal community, you can now find shops in Bordeaux as well.

BUY at Chez Pascal Dunes Blaches in Lege-Cap-Ferret at 46 Route du Cap Ferret. Open 630am-130pm and 4pm-8pm in summer. Phone – +33 (0)5 56 60 96 90 / http://boulangerie-chezpascal.com (check website for other locations)

 

Miques – These are something you won’t see everywhere, or all the time, as they are unique to the Easter period. They are sugary balls of dough with a light, sugary alcohol center. Making them is actually a really fun process and pretty simple compared to many French desserts.

BUY them in Bazas, during the Easter period, at Boulongerie Patisserie Sauboua at 5 General Cours de Gaulle. Open Monday-Saturday from 630am-100pm and 3pm-730pm and mornings on Sunday. Phone +33 (0)5 56 25 00 46 / http://www.http://boulangerie-sauboua.fr/

 

Puits d’Amour – Created in Captieux, about 15 minutes drive from Bazas, these can now be found in pastry shops all over the region. They are a light pastry with a light meringue center and a burned sugar top…think of a bite sized, airy crème brulee. Yeah.

BUY in many pastry shops in the region. The original location is in Captieux, but has since been sold to a new owner. Maison Seguin at 4 Rue de la Gare in Captieux. Open 715am-1230pm and 330pm-730pm Tuesday-Saturday and mornings on Sunday, closed Monday. Phone +33 (0)5 56 65 60 40 / https://www.facebook.com/Le-Puits-damour-de-Captieux-411526745637557/

 

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Jesuit – Is a flakey pastry with powdered sugar, frangipane and shaved almonds in a long, triangular shape ment to represent the hats worn by Jesuits. Said to have been created in Bordeaux, it’s one of my favorites, like a cross between an almond croissant and a mille-feuille?

You can find these in almost any shop in the region, so try a few and let me know what you think? In Bazas, at Boulongerie Patisserie Sauboua at 5 General Cours de Gaulle. Open Monday-Saturday from 630am-100pm and 3pm-730pm and mornings on Sunday. Phone +33 (0)5 56 25 00 46 / http://www.http://boulangerie-sauboua.fr/

 

 

 

Bazas Food and Farm Tour

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  • 10am Visit fois gras farm to learn how fois gras is made and taste products
  • 11am Bazas tour of city and learn the history of this UNESCO cathedral village
  • 1230pm Stop by butcher who will show us the famous Bazadais beef cuts
  • 1pm Lunch of Bazadais beef cooked by chef and owner of local restaurant
  • 3pm Visit goat cheese farm

 

 

 

Boucherie Bazas Tbone,entrecote and rumpstakeTour, with translator and guide starts at 100 Euro per person (two person minimum) and includes all visiting fees, tasting fees, and a lunch of Bazadais beef with dessert and one glass of graves wine. Tours offered on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Please be sure to advise of any food allergies or aversions at least one week in advance.

Can also include chauffeured car with pick up from nearby train station in Langon, please contact us for pricing.

Please bring comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes (preferably ones you don’t mind getting a little dirty)

Feel free to ask questions and have fun! These are small farms and this is the livelihood for these farmers / butchers / chefs and their families and they are happy to share their passions with you!

This tour will happen, rain or shine, so please dress for the occasion 😊

 

Bazas Food and Farm Tour

• 10am Visit fois gras farm to learn how fois gras is made and taste products • 11am Bazas tour of city and learn the history of this UNESCO cathedral village • 1230pm Stop by butcher and meet butcher who will show us the famous Bazadais beef cuts • 1pm Lunch of Bazadais beef cooked by chef and owner of local restaurant • 3pm Visit goat cheese farm

€100.00

 

 

La Lamproie (Lamprey Eel)

 

Last year I visited Le Cabestan Ferme du Pêcheur in Sainte-Terre near Saint Emilion, which was so unique and fun!  I learned something totally new and unfamiliar…the lamproie (lamprey eel). David and Sabine Durand make these prehistoric creatures their livelihood. This third generation fishing ‘farm’, which is seasonal work until early May, is unique.  It is completely dependant on the seasonal migration of older eels, making their last swim upstream from the sea.

The Durand family has an incredibly well-run operation, from fishing to cooking to presentations for kids and adults. If you want to see something out of the ordinary, taste something very regional (like the lamproie rillettes or slowly cooked eel in red wine) or learn about an unusual species – this would be the place to do it. Visits are 15 euro per person and include a tour, video, and tasting (degustation).

Cooking demos or lessons can also be arranged in advance, like the one I took last week. It’s a really interesting cleaning process, explained very well by Sabine. Ultimately, the ancient method of cooking is relatively simple…slowly boiling the eel in red wine with leeks, bay leaf, salt and pepper (and a secret herb Sabine adds to her particular recipe). You even end up with your own dinner to take home.

The lamproie is out of favor and not eaten regularly, even locally.  It’s seen as a special dish for holidays and events. However, some restaurants in Saint Emilion, Sainte-Terre and even Langon are serving up the dish. Some chefs have included more recent cooking techniques, like sautéing the eel with a dusting of flour before stewing.  Hopefully keeping people informed, as they do with school visits, and teaching visitors will keep this local, seasonal product around for the next generation.

Le Cabestan Ferme du Pecher can be found on Facebook or on their website http://www.lamproie.fr/ which is filled with more information, photos and videos / 2 Port Peytor, Sainte-Terre 33350 / Phone +33 (0)6 20 89 41 84 or contact directly through Facebook and website / Hours vary depending on the season.

When live eels are not available at the farm, you can also visit the Jardin de la Lamproie museum to see live specimens at 231 Rue du Général de Gaulle, 33350 Sainte-Terre (5 minute drive).

*Only available in French at this time.