The food and wine tour of France and Spain has come to an end. Kicking off the trail in Tarifa back in July seems like an eternity ago, with so many memories along the way. These include (deep breath…) fresh hand-caught seafood dinners with local friends in Tarifa, meeting the ham man and blind nuns in Ronda, a sherry winery tour in Jerez, a home-cooked Spanish Sunday lunch in Valencia, the two-hour visit for suckling pig, playing families in Galicia, cider and farmyard fun in Asturias, dancing chefs in Logrono, molecular gastronomy and pinchos in the North of Spain, Michelin Star chef Ferran Adria’s fairground tapas in Barcelona, hunting Paris for macarons, wine tasting along the Loire, cooking mussels roadside during a storm in Cognac, stuffing ourselves with duck in the Dordogne, a midnight tour of a restaurant in the Basque Country, market exploring in Toulouse, the bouchon experience in Lyon, a secret wine room and restaurant in Burgundy, an international gastronomic festival in Dijon and not to forget the potato farm in Franche Comté… (pause for breath!!!)
The list goes on and on and just goes to show the vast amount of experience that we have packed in to two months. Travelling up Spain by bus (with many a near miss due to ‘I love my luggage’ disasters!) and then around France in the little GB-stickered car, which also provided our home and shelter for nine nights along the way, we have certainly come a long way. My favourite travel companion will be greatly missed: the pet pig.. no, just kidding; the creative cook that is my friend Gala! We have managed to do all of the above, living in each other’s pockets 24/7 for the past 3 months with not so much as a single cross word.. I think that’s pretty impressive! Thank you for being your weird little easy-going self, constantly putting a smile on my face and putting up with my cringe iPad moments!
So many people have helped us along our way.. our fellow language students at the University of Bath who directed us towards their favourite year abroad haunts, university lecturers sharing their wisdom on local culinary traditions, and even a supermarket product developer. Our fabulous hosts have also shown us things we would never have found without their local insight. So thank you to Lara, Flekki, Loren, Sergio, Chris, Francisco, Churro, Beto, Sonia, Angelina y familias, Pedro, Clovis, Nathan, Arthur, Johan, Béatrice, Romain, Jordane, Zoe and David. Each one of you made our journey that bit more special adding that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to our experience!
So all good things come to an end. And come to an end has this chapter, but my culinary journey of exploration through the world certainly has not. As one door closes, another one opens, and I am privileged to at some point in the near future be moving to one of the most culinary diverse cities in the world: London! Other journeys of discovery are also beckoning, next projects including the likes of Italy and Central America. Bring it on!!
Thank you for following my journey so far. Your comments, recommendations and accompaniment are all valued highly and i hope that you will continue to travel with me, wherever I may go,