- Culinary walks
- Our Story
|12 people||2020 Dates:||US $3,380/adult|
On this week-long seafood pilgrimage, we’ll delve deep into the world of barnacle hunters, oyster fisherman, lobster trap builders, razor clam-diggers, and net menders, along with the local chefs who are harnessing the incredible offerings of their coast, transforming Galician cuisine into something new and exciting. Though our focus will be seafood and the traditional artisans along this coast, we’ll be exploring all facets of Galician identity—history, folklore, architecture, music, language, and religion—and gaining a deeper understanding of its unbreakable bond with the sea.
The Romans once considered Galicia, the rugged coastal region of northwestern Spain, the end of the world. Today, it remains one of Europe’s least-explored corners. The region’s Celtic heritage, seafaring tradition, and language—closer to Portuguese than Spanish—all contribute to a distinct Galician identity. Here, still-working fishing villages, monasteries, lighthouses, and ancient settlements punctuate panoramic views of the sea. For most visitors, the region’s allure is the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the resting place and shrine of St. James, but it’s the seafood bounty of the Galician coast that has put it on the culinary map.
This adventure is limited to only 12 hungry explorers.
Short scenic hikes
This afternoon, arrive in Vigo and settle into our hotel, located just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Ría de Vigo estuary. We’ll meet in the hotel in the early evening for a welcome drink and introductions.
From there, we’ll head out for dinner, where we’ll be introduced to the stars of the Galician kitchen, shellfish and crustaceans, which we’ll be hunting down throughout the week. We’ll raise a glass to a captivating—and delicious—week ahead.
This morning after breakfast, we’ll head out for an introduction to Galician history, culture, and of course, cuisine. We’ll start in the historic town of La Guardia, where we’ll have a guided walking tour of the hilltop castro, the pre-Roman ruins of Galician civilization. Meandering down to the rocky shore, we’ll tour the port and meet the people working this area, known for its rock lobsters.
From there, we’ll head up the road to the town of O Rosal, where we’ll be introduced to Galicia’s other claim to fame, wine-making, by a vintner working with the local albariño grapes. Along with the wine we’ll enjoy a late lunch featuring the lobsters we encountered back in La Guardia. As afternoon blends into evening, we’ll give everyone some free time to rest or wander before our private visit to the atelier of the region’s master bagpipe-maker, where he’ll show us his work and maybe play a couple of tunes.
To cap off the day, we’ll head to a traditional furancho, or wine “garage,” for a dinner of regional standards washed down with jugs of local wine.
This morning, we’ll leave Vigo and drive to Soutomaior, a small riverside town known for its wine and oysters. At a 12th-century castle, we’ll enjoy a wine-tasting accompanied by local oysters, while learning about the estate’s founder, a nobleman believed by some to have been Christopher Columbus.
The early afternoon will bring us to the picturesque seaside village of Combarro where unique, stone granaries jut out from the shore. Take some time to relax and enjoy the sea breezes before we head off to meet celebrated chef Pepe Vieira. We’ll be treated to a hands-on demonstration in his Michelin-starred kitchen, then afterwards enjoy his elegant tasting menu for dinner.
We’ll end our evening with a hearty night’s rest at our hotel in the city of Santiago de Compostela.
This morning is yours to sleep in and relax, or set out and explore the city on our own.
We’ll meet back up in the afternoon to unravel the mysteries of the famous pilgrimage destination of Santiago de Compostela. Walking around the city, we’ll visit the area’s significant historic sites, including the cathedral, as well as a few of the more hidden corners.
After a break to rest our feet, we’ll enjoy a festive dinner together.
Today we’re setting out for the shellfish hotbed of Cambados, also known for its famous white wine, Albariño. We’ll spend the morning with a local woman who heads an all-female cooperative focused on shellfish, and we’ll have the opportunity to join her for each stage of her work, from collecting clams on the shore to taking them to the market. After lunch, we’ll head across the estuary, where we’ll join a fisherman collecting mussels. He’ll take us to his hatcheries by boat and treat us to a fresh tasting, right there onboard. In the late afternoon we’ll head back to Santiago, where you can enjoy a free evening to wander and relax.
In the morning we’ll head to what local sailors refer to as the “Coast of Death,” where stone crosses on the shore mark lost ships. Here, some of the world’s finest barnacles cling to dramatic cliffs pounded by the surf. We’ll meet with a local barnacle hunter who’ll introduce us to his work and explain how he “reads” the sea on his dangerous daily hunts. We’ll also meet one of the last artisans practicing a traditional method of drying conger eel. After walking along one of the minor paths of the St. James pilgrimage route, we’ll end at a lighthouse on the tip of a cape. Since ancient times this stretch of coast has been a site where pilgrims watch the sunset, believed to be a gateway to the beyond—Greek and Roman ruins attest to that. We’ll watch the sun sink into the water before feasting with our new friends, the barnacle hunter and eel dryer, at a local taverna serving exquisite seafood and other local specialties. After our final celebratory meal together, we’ll head back out to the rocks for a special purification ritual known as queimada. Involving shots ladled out of a pot of flaming brandy by a toastmaster, the ritual’s roots may be Druid or Gallego-Cuban or a mix of both—and, like all of the week’s experiences, it is uniquely Galician.
Until the next adventure!