Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Culinary Student Tours

Active Gourmet Holidays designs custom tours for annual or bi-annual student cooking school vacations. Whether the school vacation is a week, ten days or longer, we can tailor-make a culinary tour to include hands-on cooking classes with talented chefs, market visits, foodie tours, excursions to points of interest and historical landmarks and anything else the students may require for a student certification. In addition to custom tours, many of the programs listed on our website are also perfect choices for student tours. Below is a sample nine night custom itinerary for Spain.


"It was GREAT - done very well. We all had a wonderful experience. The tour guides were awesome in both Barcelona and Seville. All three cooking classes were done well and the meals were perfect. I don't think I would change a thing. I can't say enough good about our tours and our tour guides. Great job and we will be doing the same trip in 2012!"


Chef Jim S., Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania - Group Leader



A CULINARY TOUR OF SPAIN  (Barcelona and Sevilla)


Day One




Travel Day to Barcelona.




Day Two




Today you will be collected from the airport in a coach bus and taken to check in to the hotel.




After you get settled in, you will meet your private guide you for a walking tour to explore Barcelona's oldest district, the Gothic quarter, where you will see the remnants of the city's Roman past. As you wind through the narrow streets lined by beautiful Romanesque walls, you will make your way to the stunning city square at Placa del Rei, which encompasses a beautiful array of architecture exemplary of Barcelona's medieval history. The royal palace for instance, Palau Reial Major, and Palatine Chapel of Santa Agata, a 14th-century Gothic temple. You will also see Sant Jaume Square; built on the site of the ancient Roman forum, it is in many ways the crux of the Catalán political arena. The headquarters of the Catalonia government, called Palau de la Generalitat, along with the city hall, Casa de la Ciutat, each reside here.




Next, you will take the path of Picasso on the famous Avignon Street and pass by Museu Picasso, and the restaurant Els Quatre Gats, which has been a Barcelona legend since 1897. Els Quatre Gats ("The Four Cats" Catalan slang for "just a few people") was a favorite of Picasso who hung his work here and also designed a menu. Picasso’s very first exposition was held there! It was a base for members of the modernista movement and figured in the city's intellectual and bohemian life.




Then you will make your way over to Passeig de Grácia, where you will have the opportunity to see the fanciful works of Spanish architect Gaudi and visit his famous Casa Batllo, created in a mosaic with bright colors and unique shapes. The tour will lead you to La Pedrera, Gaudi's renowned architectural accomplishment, which is in the most chic area of the city.


This evening you will have free to discover the Barcelona night life, perhaps with a visit to La Rambla or the fashionable Born District. Your tour guide is ready with many suggestions!



Day Three



Today you will have a tour of the Born and Ribera districts, where your private guide will show you all of the most trendy spots in the area to enjoy delicious avant-garde cuisine, sip cocktails, or sample some of the finest local products. You will be guided through the newly renovated Santa Caterina Market, situated in the center of Ciutat Vella in the Ribera quarter, where you will find locals bartering things like Iberian ham, local fish, olive oils, vegetables, etc.


You will also have the opportunity to taste delicious Iberian ham and learn about the different ham varieties, the Iberian free range pigs raise, their diet made up of acorns and why some nutritionists call  the Iberian pig “an olive tree with four legs.”


Next you will visit our favorite local cheese shop, which has been a favorite of many of our clients in the past. You will enjoy a taste of some of the best Spanish cheeses paired with some excellent Priorat wine. You will then be able to judge for yourselves why the Tou de Tilers, Cabrales or Mahon cheeses are so appreciated by the locals. The group will taste 5-6 different cheeses, as well as learn about the cheese-making process and also a bit about the long history of this particular establishment.



For the afternoon, your guide will give you plenty of suggestions, and you will be left free to explore the area until it is time for your cooking class in the evening. You will embark for a private cooking lesson at a local cooking school. The class will be conducted by a reputed professional chef who has worked with Ferran Adria for a few years and specializes in cooking classes for chefs and  food professionals. She is particularly experienced with foams, hot jellies, and the airs, along with truffles which she will demonstrate both modern and traditional dishes, as well as conservation and elaboration techniques. You will have the opportunity to watch, learn, and do some tasting as well!



Day Four




Today you will have the morning free until midday when you will enjoy lunch in one of the most authentic tapas restaurants in Barcelona, where you will taste a wide array of delicious Spanish tapas. Your expert guide will gladly share with you each tapas' ingredients and their origins. Your tapas could range from stuffed piquillo peppers, cod omelette, Iberian ham pincho or even white anchovies. A good local wine will accompany your informal gourmand meal.




For dessert time, join your guide for a private tour of a local chocolate museum where you will become an expert on the entire chocolate-making process from the cocoa beans to the delicious final product. And of course you will have the opportunity to sample some of the museum’s finest chocolates yourself while learning about the special techniques used to create them!




Tonight you will have the evening free to spend at your leisure.



Day Five




Today you have a free day to explore Barcelona. Your guide will be available with plenty of suggestions. In the evening, you are booked for another private cooking class where you will learn the secrets of typical Catalan and Spanish cuisine. You will enjoy your fabulous creations accompanied with a glass of fine local wine.


Following your cooking class, you have the evening at your leisure and your guide will give you plenty of suggestions of bars to go to for an energetic night out on the town.





Day Six



Transfer to the Barcelona airport for your departure to Seville (flight to be arranged by school). Arrival in Seville with transfer to your charming hotel in the historic centre of the city.


Free time until 8pm when we will be going on a tapas tour of some of the best bars in Seville. Seville is considered by many to be the tapas capital of Spain so everyone is in for a treat. 



Day Seven




This morning you will be taken on a guided tour of historic Seville, visiting the Cathedral and Giralda, Reales Alcazares and Barrio Santa Cruz, starting at 10:00am from the hotel. The cathedral is the largest gothic edifice in the world and is an incredibly imposing building. The Giralda which is the cathedral tower was once the minaret of the mosque on whose site the cathedral was built. Climb to the top of the tower for wonderful views across the city.




The Reales Alcazares is a fortress/palace which dates originally from the 9th century. Many additions have been made to the building over the centuries but the Alcazar is most famous for the Mudejar architecture from the 14th century. Not to be missed are the beautiful gardens. The Reales Alcazares is the oldest royal palace in Europe and is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family when they stay in Seville. The Barrio Santa Cruz is the old Jewish quarter and it is a joy to amble around its narrow streets and beautiful squares.




After the tour you will be free until 6pm when you will set off for your first cooking class with local chef Willy Moya. Willy was trained in Spain and Paris and has run one of Seville's top restaurants, Poncio, where his creative Andalusian cooking has brought him accolades from around the world. You will be learning to make a selection of great Spanish dishes which everyone will be able to replicate when they get home! 


Day Eight




Day trip to the region of Jerez, where the world-famous sherry wines are produced. We will leave Seville at 9:15am and will start off by visiting a large winery in Jerez, the principal sherry producing town. We will be taken around what are spectacular buildings with their rows and rows of sherry butts stacked one on top of the other. These buildings are often compared to cathedrals and it is certainly true that they give the impression of being sanctified places. There will be a detailed tour including a complete explanation of the sherry-making process as well as the methods for making sherry vinegar and Jerez brandy. The visit will finish with a tasting of a selection of sherry wines.


We will then go on to a boutique winery that only produces very high-end sherries, brandies and vinegar. You will get to sample the full range of wines and brandies with most being tasted directly from the barrel; a rare treat!

We will then proceed to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, passing by some of the most important vineyards. Sanlúcar, the second most important sherry town, is unknown to the majority of foreign visitors. It is situated at the mouth of the Guadalquivir estuary and looks across to the Doñana National Park and out on to the Atlantic Ocean Among the many styles of sherry wine produced here manzanilla stands out as a light style of sherry with a salty hint to it. The town is also known for very fine seafood, being one of the best places for this in Spain.



Here we will be having lunch at one of the fantastic seafood restaurants along the bank of the estuary, indulging in the best local seafood washed down with the finest manzanilla. There will be time for a walk along the beach before returning to Seville, where we will be free for the rest of the evening. 


Day Nine




Departure at 9.30am. Today we take you to the Sierra of Aracena in the province of Huelva, a mountainous area north-west of Seville near to the Portuguese border. It is here that the finest hams in the world are made from the Iberian pig. These hams are cured in the mountain air for up to 3 years and are considered by many people to be the jewel in the crown of Spanish gastronomy.



This area is situated about 90 kilometres (56 miles) from Seville. We will first be visiting the installations of one of the best ham producers in the village of Jabugo, a mythical name in Spain for fine ham. An expert will show us around, explaining the processes involved in the production of ham and of other products which come from the Iberian pig. At the end of the visit you will be able to taste the wonderful ham along with a glass of the best fino. Afterwards, we will go on to the town of Aracena where we will be going to the finest restaurant in the area. by a gourmet lunch where you will be able to sample the finest local produce which may include fresh cheese, ham, mushrooms, pork from the Iberian pig, wild asparagus, artichokes etc. Many of the dishes will vary according to the season. The meal will be accompanied by fine Spanish red wine and end with typical desserts. After lunch there will be time to look around the town of Aracena. On our return to Seville you will be free go do as you please.



Day Ten


Today we will leave Seville at 9:15am to go on an excursion which starts with a visit to an olive oil mill outside the spectacular white village of Zahara de la Sierra, which is situated in the beautiful mountainous region called the Sierra of Grazalema, around 90 kilometres ( 56 miles) to the south east of Seville. The mill produces both organic and non-organic olive oil of the highest quality. We will find out about how the oil is produced and taste several different extra virgin olive oils. We then head off to a boutique winery just outside the town of Ronda. After visiting one of the vineyards and looking around the wine-making facilities we will taste the wines produced at the winery and some from other quality producers in the area. We will be having lunch in Ronda at oneof the finest restaurants in the south of Spain, Tragabuches. Here we will be sampling a tasting menu of many creative and innovative dishes based on Andalusian cuisine. We will also continue to drink some very fine wine. After lunch there will be time to explore the beautiful town of Ronda. It is famous throughout Spain for the gaping river gorge with a sheer drop of 120m which divides the medieval from the 18th century parts of the town. A spectacular bridge constructed in the 18th century spans the gorge and the view looking down from it is not for the faint-hearted! We should arrive back in Seville at around 8pm ready for a welcome rest. 


Day Eleven


Departure for airport after breakfast.  







"Believe me we were impressed...very impressed...I don't know how we could possibly top this vacation...any suggestions? Active Gourmet did good. Everyone we came in contact with was superb. Friendly, professional, efficient, accommodating,fantastic. What a pleasure having them assist us with our was the best vacation I ever had. Thank you." Fran and Daniel U., Torrance, California

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