The Beautiful Basque Country

The gorgeous Basque Country, (half in Spain and half in France) is a perfect ten – as a culinary destination, it just doesn't seem to be able to do anything wrong. In fact, it's like the whole of Europe encapsulated in one little territory with the best of everything – villages, mountains, sea, forests, sparkling cities, pretty fishing ports, the most starred restaurants in the world and music. The Basque's sing all the time – it pours out of the famous men's societies, it's on the street, in the bars, on the beaches and in four part harmony.

On our June tour we poured txacoli (sparkling white wine) from great heights, ate hake, jamon and pintxos till they were coming out our ears, bought lots of stripy Basque fabric, learned how to cure the best anchovies in the world and found ourselves elbow deep in fish innards. Our new hotel in St-Jean-de-Luz, The Madison, was absolutely fab with the staff bending over backwards to make us welcome and the head chef offering to teach us a cooking class. We had always wanted to know what to do with pig's trotters and now we do – you make them into a terrine then cut the terrine into squares, dip in breadcrumbs and deep-fry.

Many Basque cherry pies, garlic infused fish dishes, luxurious foie gras terrines and attempts to speak the incomprehensible Basque language later, we gave up and partied into the night with a Basque choir. I'll be doing it all again next year ... 27 June – 4 July 2020.

Tours in 2020

Obviously it seems ridiculous to be talking about 2020 but apparently it's not that far away. Our bookings for next year are open and filling up so if you feel like ditching winter and joining me on an exotic foodie escape then get in touch pronto!

Vietnam – 28 March – 7 April 2020
Marrakech – 31 May – 7 June 2020
Basque Country – 27 June – 4 July 2020
Puglia – 30 August – 6 September
North India – 3 – 13 October 2020
Rajasthan – 20 – 29 October 2020

I'll be cooking up a storm in this crazy heat for the next month in Uzès then heading to perfect Puglia to rendezvous with my next group of gastronomads. And if you feel like doing something wild and spontaneous there are 2 places up for grabs on myNorth India tour 9–19 October. The perfect end of winter treat! Ciao for now.