Unique ‘Discover the Basque Country’ tour – 4 events to choose from (6th to 9th July)

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San Fermin - Thursday 7th July

A family prepares for the day's fiesta in the traditional costume of red and white

It is almost July and many are looking forward to the summer fiestas this region is famous for, among which the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona. For those who are looking for something more authentic and intimate, food guide Jon Warren and acclaimed author Paddy Woodworth have put their shoulders under a unique 5-day-tour, the program of which is built around the special San Fermin ceremonies of the picturesque Pyrenean mountain village of Lesaka.

This unique experience will now be broken down into modules, which means that anyone interested will be able to take part, even those who cannot take 5 days off to submerge themselves in Basque culture and culinary enjoyment. Just choose one of the organised events on a day you are free to join us!

Jon Warren, Food guide and founder of the culinary tour company San Sebastian Food

Jon Warren, Food guide and founder of the culinary tour company San Sebastian Food

The San Fermin Fiesta of Lesaka begins on Wednesday 6th July with fireworks at 12.00. Those who join cultural expert Paddy Woodworth and local historian Rafael Eneterreaga that day to discover the beautifully preserved village’s hidden corners and secret narratives, will also have the chance to taste pintxos paired with wines in some of Lesaka’s infamous twenty-two bars.

The best day to fully experience the colourful festive ceremonies of the tiny village is no doubt Thursday 7th July, when the ezpata danza (sword dance) along the narrow stone banks of the Onin stream will take your breath away. You will immediately see why the village’s nickname, ‘Little Venice’, is a perfect one. This day also includes lunch in a local restaurant in between the rolling green Basque hills.

Friday 8th July then is ideal for those who long to travel deep into the ‘Pirineos Atlánticos’ and explore remote, beautiful and historic villages, to discover rich culture and a magnificent winery.  Further details are available by clicking here San Sebastian Food.

If you cannot make it on one of these wonderful trips into the heart of mountainous Basque Country but are keen to learn more about Basque history, culture and politics, don’t miss the engaging talk by Paddy Woodworth on Saturday evening 9th July, complete with wine tasting and pintxos. Woodworth has been writing about the Basque Country since 1978, for publications ranging from the Irish Times to the International Herald Tribune, and for broadcasters including the BBC, and has been asked to give presentations at prestigious universities such as Harvard.

All these four tours, except the last one, offer a whole day of ultimate mix between history and cuisine, and take you back to San Sebastian at the end of the tour. On Friday 8th July a 3-Michelin star dinner can be arranged for you as well at one of the top restaurants of the city, Arzak, now rated 8th in the world rankings.

These Basque Country discovery tours, organised with expert Paddy Woodworth, are a great opportunity for those who have been longing to experience something completely different, to learn about the history of a long independent and very strong community, and at the same time taste the flavours of world famous gastronomy!

For further information, visit San Sebastian Food and request a tour brochure.

Alternatively, you can download their full tour brochure by clicking here.  For those that would like details of their modular tour program, they have been put below.

Cultural expert Paddy Woodworth who will lead the series of tours along with Jon Warren

Cultural expert Paddy Woodworth who will lead the series of tours along with Jon Warren

Event 1: Behind the Scenes at a Basque Fiesta

Date: Wednesday 6th July

Title: Behind the Scenes at a Basque Fiesta

Timing: 08.00 – 14.30

Description: We travel deep into the heart of the Basque Country to the little known Pyrenean mountain village of Lesaka with marvelously preserved architecture dating back to the 14th century. A local historian, Rafael Eneterreaga, will join cultural expert Paddy Woodworth in showing us Lesaka’s hidden corners and secret narratives.

At precisely 12.00, the official start of the San Fermin fiesta will be signaled with multiple fireworks from the balcony of the town hall.  Having taken in the atmosphere, we will meet with the town mayor. After a drink and pintxos (tapas) in some of Lesaka’s infamous twenty-two bars, we will return to San Sebastian.

Includes: Private transport, guided tour of Lesaka with Cultural expert Paddy Woodworth and local historian, Rafael Eneterreaga, Pintxos (tapas) lunch with wines, fiesta scarf, photos from the event, 18% vat.

Meeting point and time: 08.00 sharp, San Sebastian Food offices – Calle Aldamar, 30 (See map for directions)

Price: €185 per person.  Maximum 15 guests.

Event 2: San Fermin Day in Lesaka

Date: Thursday 7th July

Title: San Fermin Day in Lesaka

Timing: 08.00 – 16.00 (full day)

Description: Arriving in Lesaka, we enjoy breakfast in one of the village’s many bars whilst young men dressed in bright red costumes gather in the main plaza. The day is focused around experiencing the very special ceremonies of Lesaka’s San Fermin fiesta.  This includes a breathtaking ezpata danza (sword dance) along the narrow stone banks of the Onin stream, one of the features which have given the village the nickname of ‘Little Venice’.

After the main fiesta is coming to a close, we travel deep into rolling Basque hills for a special lunch at a local restaurant packed with atmosphere.

Includes: San Fermin day in Lesaka, rustic gourmet lunch with wines, fiesta scarf, photos from the event, private transport, 18% vat.

Meeting point and time: 08.00 sharp, San Sebastian Food offices – Calle Aldamar, 30 (See map for directions)

Price: €235 per person.  Maximum 15 guests.

Event 3: Cultural & Culinary tour through Basque valleys

Date: Friday 8th July

Title: Cultural & Culinary tour through Basque valleys

Timing: 08.00 – 17.00 (full day)

Description: We take a very special journey deep into the ‘Pirineos Atlánticos’, the foothills of the Pyrenees and explore remote, beautiful and historic villages including Saint-Etienne-de-Baigorri, Bideray, Itxassou and Ainhoa, uncovering rich culture and a magnificent winery.

Optional: In the evening, invited guests are welcomed for a 3-Michelin star dinner at restaurant Arzak* for their full tasting menu with selected wines.  (*Rated 8th in the world rankings)

Includes: Scenic tour of French Basque villages with cultural commentary and insight, winery visit, lunch with wines, photos from the event, private transport, 18% vat.

Meeting point and time: 08.00 sharp, San Sebastian Food offices – Calle Aldamar, 30 (See map for directions)

Price: €235 per person (€395 per person including 3-Michelin star dinner).  Maximum 15 guests.

Event 4: Basque history, culture and politics

Date: Saturday 9th July

Title: Basque history, culture and politics

Timing: 19.00 – 22.30

Description: Engaging talk by Paddy Woodworth based on presentations on Basque history, culture and politics he has given at Harvard and the London School of Economics.

Includes: Presentation by Paddy Woodworth, questions and answer session, wine tasting interval followed by pintxos (tapas) and wines, 18% vat.

Meeting point and time: 18.45 for 19.00, San Sebastian Food offices – Calle Aldamar, 30 (See map for directions)

Price: €95 per person.  Maximum 25 guests.

About San Sebastian Food

Food is a journey. Let us share ours with you.  Feel part of the food culture of San Sebastián, Northern Spain.  Using local knowledge and contacts, we provide an intimate experience of the region’s gastronomy and wine. Our team is made up of food and wine lovers, chefs, wine experts, cultural experts, artisan producers and local shopkeepers.  We are knowledgeable, dedicated and love what we do.

About Paddy Woodworth – Basque cultural expert

Paddy Woodworth has been writing about the Basque Country since 1978, for publications ranging from the Irish Times to the International Herald Tribune and Vanity Fair, and for broadcasters including the BBC, RTE, and National Public Radio in the US. His first book, ‘Dirty War, Clean Hands’, was described by Franco biographer Paul Preston as “one of the most important books ever published about post-Franco Spain.”

For further information or to make a reservation, please contact Jon Warren (jon@sansebastianfood.com) or by phone +34 634 759 503.  All events start and end at our offices in the Old Town of San Sebastián.

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