5 must-see Mouthwatering Culinary Walks in Barcelona to add to your culinary discovery tours. Of course, if you’d rather have all of this packaged together, then join these hand-picked, delicious Catalonia, Barcelona & Costa Brava gastronomic food and wine tours.
Walking along the back tiny streets, around every corner, in every square is like finding the most beautiful village in Italy. And that’s exactly what Petralia Soprana is, the winner of the title “most beautiful village”.
Located just seventy kilometers from Barcelona, Lloret de Mar is a booming tourist attraction and seaside resort. With more than seven kilometers of coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Lloret de Mar is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in the world. But, this city can offer you much more than just round the clock parties. Read our guide to find out what are the must-do activities and best locations to see when visiting Lloret de Mar.
The Next Big Party Destination – Costa Brava
Without any doubts, Lloret de Mar is the nightlife capital of Costa Brava. With dozens of popular nightclubs and specially-themed discos, visitors can enjoy never-ending fun and experience everything, from modern music to flamenco and music from the sixties and seventies. Most clubs open in the afternoon, although some venues are open at all times. Besides this, you can also visit beach parties or take a tour on one of several party boats cruising along the coastline every day.
Lloret de Mar Beaches
Even if you’re not that into partying and prefer relaxing on the beach and drinking cocktails while on vacation, This coastal region has a lot to offer to you. While not many people may know, there are actually many activities you can partake in Lloret de Mar that don’t involve the parties. The town is very famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, with some of the most popular ones being:
- Lloret beach – more than 1.5 kilometers long, this is the largest beach in Lloret de Mar and is named after the town itself.
- Fenals beach – the second largest and arguably the most beautiful beach in Lloret de Mar. More than 700 meters long, it is situated in a bay and sheltered by hills.
- Cala Boadella – Much smaller than the two above, Cala Boadella is a charming and secluded beach perfect for those who don’t like big beaches and heavy crowds.
- Sa Caleta cove – located right to Lloret beach, Sa Caleta cove is a fisherman’s cove that offers fantastic views of the coastline and fine sandy beaches.
Museums, Architecture, and Art
Despite being a town of a small population of just 37,000 people, there are a lot of sights to be seen in Lloret de Mar. From the church of Saint Roma to the Can Garriga Museum of the Sea, the City Dye Centre, it will take you a couple of days to get to every location. Plus, we didn’t even mention the most significant piece of history located in Lloret de Mar – St John’s Castle. Built in the 11th century, the castle is a building of cultural interest and has endured a long and rich history. It survived natural disasters like earthquakes and storms, as well as many attacks and raids over the ten centuries it stood on top of the hill between Fenals beach and Lloret beach.
We’ve talked about the unique charm of the Catalonian region and everything that comes with it. This also applies to this charming coastal town that has the potential to be a significant economic contributor in the region, mainly through tourism. Besides unique location-based activities, most tourists also like to experience the local food of every location they visit.
When it comes to food, tourists visiting Lloret de Mar will find that the town offers very fascinating local cuisine, influenced by several cultures. Starting with the Phoenicians and Greeks, and then later the Romans and Carthaginians, all the way to the Arabs and Spanish Christians, the food in Lloret de Mar, and Catalonia in general, is a must-try for every gastronome.
The Best Time to Visit Lloret de Mar
It is the perfect summer destination. The weather is pleasant in April with around 25 degrees Celsius in the daytime. The high-season starts in June and lasts to mid-August, and this is the period when the town gets really crazy. If you want to enjoy the warm weather, swim and walk around town, but don’t appreciate the massive crowds, May and September are the perfect time to visit the town. If, however, you’re an adrenaline seeker who wants to experience everything this town has to throw at you during summertime, peak season then this is the perfect place.
Thinking of travelling to Spain?
As a food and wine lover, you may want to consider joining one of Dominique’s bespoke, small group Gastronomic Food Tours to Spain, travelling in 2021. Have a look at some of the highlights of her Spanish tours and see why Dominique has rave reviews for her personally escorted food tours.
My tours to Italy, Spain, and Greece are always in the European summer, so in preparation for my upcoming tours to Italy, here are my top summer travel tips for you.
I love flying and I fly all the time for my food and wine tours. Living in Australia means that the flights to Europe are long, at least 24 hours, and as a tour host, I need to arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to greet my very important guests with warmth and enthusiasm.
There is so much to do and see when you travel to Sicily, and one of the most breathtaking places to visit in this area, is the Aeolian Islands.
From the beautiful north Sicilian town of Milazzo, take the ferry to the stunning Aeolian Island of Salina.
Things to Do in the Basque Country
The Basque Country is a region in Spain known for its sprawling valleys and rugged mountains. The region attracts millions of tourists every year, as Argia reports that 4.5 million tourists visited in 2015 — a number that is likely to have only grown since then. If you’re planning a trip of your own to this beautiful region, read on for a list of things to add to your itinerary.
Explore the cathedrals
By Dflandre – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16413873
One of the best ways to appreciate the Basque’s unique landscape and architecture is to explore its two most famous cathedrals, the similarly named Saint Mary’s Cathedral and Sainte-Marie Cathédrale. The former, also called the Cathedral of Santa María, is located in Vittoria-Gastéiz, the peaceful capital of the region. The intricate details of the gothic cathedral were chiselled during its construction in the 13th and 14th century. Not too far in Bayonne, Sainte-Marie Cathédrale’s unique infrastructure makes it a popular site to visit, too. The building is made entirely out of locally sourced red and white stones and overlooks two local rivers. Both landmarks have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites and host regular tours for their visitors.
Go on a food crawl
The Spanish people have a rich food culture and history — a fact to take advantage of on your trip. An obvious place to start is with staples like paella, ham, and tapas. We’ve personally confirmed that Spain is home to the most mouth-watering tapas, and these are definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on during your visit.
In the Basque Country specifically, the place to look for is La Bretxa in San Sebastian-Donostia, a market known for its fresh and high-quality seafood. The variety of things at the market are from nearby ports, straight from the fishermen.
Visit a gaming centre
Espaldazo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
For the complete European experience, you can head over to either of the two available land-based casinos in Bilbao or San Sebastian. Gran Casino Bilbao is an excellent choice if you enjoy classic table games like Blackjack and Roulette. Poker tables for games like Texas Hold ’em are also available in the facility.
Of course, the rise of online gaming portals has been both a boon and bane for land-based casinos like Gran Casino Bilbao. Although foot traffic and revenues have undoubtedly taken a hit because of the emergence of online gaming opportunities, these have also made experiences in gaming centres all the more unique, and introduced more people into the excitement of different casino activities. With this in mind, online gaming and casino magazine Expat Bets continues to provide comprehensive casino guides for expats and travellers from around the world on top of giving them a taste of popular games like Big Bad Wolf and Dragon Dance. That’s because there is much more to enjoy on both sides of the spectrum, which sites like this and Gran Casino Bilbao stand as a testament to. If you plan on dropping by the casino at Bilbao, keep in mind that you can play the slot machines from 10 am until 5 am the next day, while table games run from 5 pm until 5 am.
Learn from the museums
Bilbao is also the home of one of the world’s best museums — The Guggenheim Museum. Filled with contemporary and modern art, this attraction is a must-visit for the artsy tourist. The unique curves and appearance of the building itself is considered a masterpiece designed by architect Frank Gehry, who is known for his unconventional style.
A quainter option is found in Bayonne, in the Musée Basque. It houses over 2,000 artefacts that tell the story of Bayonne and the Basque Country, and is the largest ethnographic museum in the region.
All in all, there are hundreds of things to do for travellers who find themselves in the Basque Country, where enriching one of a kind experiences await at every corner. We love talking about Spain and other famous food destinations here on Dominique Rizzo, because like this breath-taking Spanish region, there is a myriad of places around the world to learn about and explore, sights to see, and food to taste — all just waiting for you to get there.
New Zealand is not a country that’s necessarily known for its cuisine, in part because there’s so much else to like about it. More than anything else, it’s known for its sensational beauty, featuring striking coastline and otherworldly landscapes that have only been made all the more alluring by their association with the fictional land of “Middle Earth” from the film adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” fantasy. Given the natural beauty of the country, however, and all of the interesting culture to be found there, it can also be a surprisingly appealing destination for foodies. Like most countries, really, if you know where to go, you’re in for some excellent meals as you explore New Zealand.
We’re highlighting four cities to explore if you’re ever headed to this beautiful country and concerned with the food options.
One of what we might call the three or four “main” cities of New Zealand, or at least the biggest – and the capital, in fact – Wellington is a place you may well wind up seeing in the course of your travels anyway. And it happens to be by some estimations the very best place on the multi-island nation for food. National Geographic, in fact, included Wellington on a list of just six locations in the entire world it dubbed as being an “unexpected” destination for a food lover. As part of that listing, Nat Geo highlighted the neighbourhood around Cuba Street as having some of the best restaurants in town, and also noted various places for “beach eats” and even some markets for street food and snacks with which you can assemble your own meal. A few restaurants we’d join them in highlighting include Logan Brown, a contemporary restaurant in a converted bank; Olive, a high-end Mediterranean establishment; and Maranui Café, a seaside spot with light, modern fare and fresh seafood.
Hamilton is another place you may pass through on your travels fairly naturally, not because it’s a particularly huge city or one packed with attractions, but because of its close proximity to Rotorua, which is a very popular place for tourists. The town is perhaps best known for its gardens celebrating multiple influences from different cultural groups and histories. But don’t sleep on the dining scene here. Palate is one of the most respected restaurants in the country, perched atop the Waikato River and offering fabulous modern cuisine, with menu items including fresh fish and oysters, venison, grilled quail, and all manner of other tasty delights. Chim Choo Ree offers another refined, modern menu, though in a slightly more casual atmosphere (and with a renowned five-course tasting menu option). And you’ll also find delightful gastropubs (such as Foundation Bar Kitchen Lounge) and some of the country’s better Asian-inspired cuisine (at Three Leg Frog).
Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, and thus shouldn’t be a surprising inclusion here. There are all kinds of incredible restaurants of all shapes and sizes around the city, from authentic Japanese establishments (Masu and Cocoro) to modern fine dining (Cazador or the Depot oyster bar), to wholly unique options like the 10-course dining experience at Pasture. Also not to be forgotten are the Sky Tower and SKYCITY casino facility in town. Though the word “casino” casts a certain light over a place like this, the gaming options don’t always take centre stage, particularly as they become eclipsed by other, better options online. PokieSource gives us some idea that not just in general but specifically in New Zealand, many of the best gaming options from casino facilities are now accessible electronically, rendering the real-life facilities less necessary. As a direct result, however, other aspects of these facilities have been highlighted more, and those include dining options. Orbit 360 Dining in Sky Tower may be the most striking restaurant in town, and The Grill by Sean Connolly is one of the country’s most elegant and impressive steakhouses.
Nelson is a somewhat smaller city on New Zealand’s South Island, but one that some visitors pass through en route to some of the country’s vaunted wine regions. Accordingly, it’s built up something of a reputation for culinary delights as well, having featured numerous times on Honey Travel’s list of features that make the South Island a foodie’s dream. In keeping with a theme you may have noticed, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood or oyster bars in Nelson, and both can be among your very best options. However, there are also some more unique eateries to try out in this city. The Kitchen has become trendy among those who gravitate toward whole, natural, healthy ingredients; the place just radiates freshness through simple sandwiches, juices and smoothies, and its own coffee. And there are also some almost inexplicably special establishments such as Hopgoods, known for everything from its brick patio seating to its lamb and filet options, to its sensational dessert menu. Really, there’s a bit of everything in Nelson if you care to look about!
From New Zealand, it’s just a short jump to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, where the sustainable food scene is amazing and not to be missed.
How travelling and experiencing different cultures has influenced my cooking – Dominique Rizzo’s Interview by A Taste of Harmony
You’ve been running food and wine tours since 2012 now, how has travelling and exploring the cuisines of Sicily, Spain, Greece and Norfolk Island and others, influenced your cooking and recipes?
Everyone would have to agree they are inspired, even just a little by the gastronomic delights they experience when travelling. For me it’s the same, I come back from my tours completely energised and even more inspired to cook more, use more fresh seasonal produce, shop at local markets explore new places, and most importantly what I bring back with me from my travels is the emphasis on keeping things simple and to let the star ingredient shine through.
The simplicity of the street food in Sicily, chickpea panelle arancini, Pane con le milza,sfincioni and croquettes, date back thousands of years, with traditions that have been handed down through generations and techniques and customs passed on through the many different cultures that has stepped upon Sicily’s soil. Romans, the Spanish, Swabians, Greeks, Normans, Arabs and so on have all left their mark on the food here. I used to think that my food was sometimes too simple and then whenever I come back from one of my food tours, I am comfortably confident in what I do and the recipes I come up with. I give them my own twist and flavour but fundamentally I always reflect back to the food I ate on my tours, their way of life and the importance of culture, tradition and community and it always grounds me.
My cooking has become a melting pot of them all, combining the flavours, ingredients and methods of cookery. In all honesty, I feel that these cuisines are some of the healthiest ways of cooking. Their cuisine styles are simple and I believe it is with the addition of the exotic spices, fresh herbs, fresh and dried fruits and nuts, that simple 3 or 4 ingredient dishes can sing louder with flavour, and have us drooling more than some of the more lavishly garnished, intricate ingredients and long, complicated dishes we find.
More locally, Norfolk Island has been an amazing food experience and left a definite mark, not only on my cooking, but more so on my philosophy for living and importance in strength of community. Norfolk has this amazing, friendly, wonderful sense of freedom. Its waters and air are pristine, it has a very interesting history and unique flora and fauna. Apart from some pre-packaged items and a couple of fresh ingredients, everything is grown, harvested and produced locally. I absolutely love that. Their traditions and history are really embraced with great pride and respect from the locals, their precious island and its unique lifestyle is embraced by everyone. It is an amazing place to visit for either a quiet relaxed getaway enjoying some amazing wine and food experiences or a wild adventure of fishing, sailing, boating, rock climbing, bush walking and attending the many events and festivals which they have on the island.
Your tours involve small groups of 14-16 people, have you found through sharing and learning about food together while on tour you also learn a lot about each other?
Yes absolutely, it’s part of the main reason I love running my food tours. I have the greatest honour of meeting so many amazing, passionate and interesting people and as much as I have learnt so much about them, the stories of their lives and how they interact with others, their quirks and why they might do the things they do. I have learnt so much about myself, which I have been so grateful for.
I have always believed that sharing a meal, engaging in a cooking lesson together, tasting wine and enjoying conversation, any means of gathering together around food brings out the best and sometimes the worst in people, but usually the best.
The biggest lesson I have learnt in my life that has been reinforced through running my food tours is never judge or make judgment on others as you never know what is really going on for someone behind closed doors. Until you have sat with them, engaged, connected, communicated and listened to their stories, it’s hard to imagine some of the painful events that people have experienced, which in turn has made them who they are.
I really like to just sit back, ask questions and listen to get to know people and what they like, dislike and I really enjoy asking people about their life. I find the more I know about someone, the more I am able to better understand who they are, their culture, beliefs, and in return they can better understand me and I believe this is the basis to peace and harmony between us as humans.
If you had to pick one experience from your tours that has been a highlight for you so far, what would it be?
That’s a very difficult question!
It wasn’t necessarily an experience, more like a moment where we were all in the most beautiful moment of laughter, joy and sharing a stunning dinner on the Island of Salina. It was a series of little events, positive outcomes for some of my clients and some wonderful transformations they had simply by being able to just sit back, relax and be guided around on my tour. I design and host my tours because I know what it’s like to organise travel either before you go or while you are on the go and quite frankly it can be exhausting.
Sometimes you come back not rested or relaxed but slightly stressed and underwhelmed at all the places you missed seeing, the restaurants you didn’t get to, the distance you didn’t travel and sights you didn’t see because you were travelling on your own or organising it yourself. It’s a big job. I saw my clients faces lighten up, their smiles grow more frequent, they were glowing, their personalities opened up and on that occasion, we just laughed and laughed.
For me it was one of the most special times I have had on tour.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate cultural diversity in our workplaces, kitchens and in general?
I personally, am becoming so despondent at the way we as humans are treating each other. It’s frightening and really sad to see and hear the way some people talk to each other, tease, taunt, troll and hurt others. People don’t listen, they refuse to open up and understand. If everyone could just stop and listen, and accept that everyone is different, that we all have different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, understandings, ways we do things and ways we think., then I believe we would have way less hate and way more harmony.
I really feel that it is beyond important, almost a necessity to celebrate cultural diversity, not only celebrate but we need to be constantly educated and reminded of its importance. Without celebrating cultural diversity, we wouldn’t have half the interesting aspects of our country that now exist. We would not be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
The more we can celebrate and be open to cultural diversity, the more we will have stronger communities looking out for each other and not just it being mine, yours and theirs. I sincerely hope that in my lifetime we will be celebrating not just one day through A Taste of Harmony and bringing this awareness to cultural diversity on this day, but that it will just be the norm. Acceptance, understanding and freedom for everyone to live their lives embracing their tradition, culture and to embrace everybody else’s’ with the same respect would be my greatest joy.
Why should workplaces get involved in A Taste of Harmony?
To get involved with Taste of Harmony is to say to your employees, we embrace and accept everyone equally. We see the importance of cultural differences as a benefit to our business and we support and respect it. We welcome different, we welcome diverse and we are open and willing to engage in bridging the gaps and to open the lines of communication. It can only be a good positive outcome for businesses to engage everyone together on an even platform – strength in numbers.
Dominique Rizzo is one of Queensland’s leading chefs, author and owner of Putia Pure Food Kitchen. Learn more about Dominique’s Food, Wine & Culture Tours to destinations such as Sicily, Greece, Spain and Norfolk Island here.
Where to eat in Barcelona, Tips from Chef Dominique Rizzo as She Savours the World of Travel, Food, Wine and Cooking
Hi fellow travellers to Spain and welcome to Barcelona. On the eve of my Pure Food Wine & Cooking Tour “A Taste of Spain, Unique Catalonia“, here are a few more tempting insights into this majestic city to whet your appetite.
Tip 1. The best Tapas in the city
Tapas where do you start and where do you finish and that is just in Cervecería Catalana with their fantastic choices, start at one end of the bar and try each one is our advice.
Tip 2. Churros at Xurrieria Dels Banys Nous
A churro is a Spanish traditional deep fried-dough pastry that is powdered with sugar and sometimes dipped in chocolate as a snack. It is a decadent number that you must try at least once.
Image by Yaho Dkr
Tip 3. Must do restaurant in the Ravel neighborhood
“Suculent” on Rambla del Raval, 45 is one not to miss if you love seafood.
Image by Miguel Lanos
Tip 4. The ultimate experience
The word on the street is that “Enigma” by Albert Adria (Carrer de Sepúlveda, 38-40, 08015 Barcelona, Spain) offers a dining experience of a life time.
Image by Nicholas Leong
Tip 5: For chocolate like you have never tasted before
For chocolate check out Enric Rovira Chocolatier. His chocolates are works of art. (Sant Geroni, 17, 08296 Castellbell y Vilar, Barcelona, Spain)
Tip 6. For the deli lovers
Call into La Pineda (Carrer del Pi, 16, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) in the Gothic Quarter – it’s a feast and celebration of Spanish foods.
Image: Jossh Pappon
Tip 7. Mercat De La Boqueria (the marketplace)
One of the best Spanish Barcelona experiences is to eat at Mercat De La Boqueria (La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain); find the bar called El Quim de la Boqueria; one of its delicacies is baby squid with egg.
Tip 8. And just another thing …..
There is no tipping just round up the total.
Dinner is usually eaten very late (10p.m.) after bar hopping and tapas.
Essentials To Pack in your carryon: Medications, Prescriptions, Passport copy, Passwords, European adaptor, phone/ipad/laptop chargers; an outfit (in case your luggage is delayed), sunglasses.
And in your suitcase: swimmers, hat, sandals, espadrilles.
Follow Chef Dominique Rizzo on her “A Taste of Spain” travels in “Unique Catalonia” on her Instagram page She Savours the World.
After a day of art, culture, and history, do as the locals do and head to one of the many fantastic bars in Barcelona.
Here is the low down on bars in Barcelona as a starting point.
Can Cisa Bar Brutal – Natural wine bar and Wine Shop.
This has one of the best Natural Wine selections in Barcelona you can buy everything at takeaway prices.
L’Anima del Vi – is so Spanish, great food, great local vibe.
Lots of bottles on the walls but as always, ask for anything you are chasing. They have an extensive off list cellar and back vintages of great things!
Vila VIniteca – A great wine shop with big vibes, near the marina.
Boadas – Pretty cool spot for a cocktail. Has been open since the ‘30s and is one of the oldest art deco buildings in the city.
La Cova Fumada – This is a classic tapas basement restaurant with heaps of attitude and charcoal-grilled vegetables and smoked meats.
Bar del Pla – another classic tapa place, good natural wine too. This is a good lunch spot.
Bar Mut – Super old school place. Ask to eat in the bar upstairs that always has live music and gets rowdy. Great cocktails and old school wine list.
ABaC Restaurant – Michelin star – definitely worth considering.
Quimet y Quimet – some of the best smoked, canned, and dried, pickled seafood and meats in the city. Canned Quail is the hot tip here.
Tickets – Adrias bros tapas – it is really good but you will want to book or line up early.
Bodega 1900 – Adria’s Vermut Bar. Its actually opposite Tickets. Must book for dinner.
Cal Pep – an absolute institution, sit at the bar, drink heaps of beer and eat heaps of seafood from the Plancha.
El Tres Porquets – the three pigs, pork, pork, and more pork. Fantastic flavours and dishes.
With thanks to a Chef friend in Barcelona for sharing.
Would you like to experience the Art, History, Wine, and Gastronomy of Spain? Click here for our selection of tours travelling to Spain