The BLiSS* Trip – Chef Tom’s NEW Culinary Adventure

I invite you to join me and a select group of fellow travelers on Hipp Kitchen’s next mindful culinary adventure, The BLiSS* Trip, September 21 to October 5, 2017.

*Barcelona, Lisbon, San Sebastian

The Iberian Peninsula has four classic cuisines — Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Portuguese — and we’ll explore each one, with culinary tour professionals taking us to the best places. History and architecture tours will also be given. Our accommodations are in the heart of it all, with direct access to magnificent scenery, shopping, and wine. During each city’s stay there’ll be one free day to allow for plenty of unstructured exploration.

As with all my trips, I will demonstrate simple mindfulness techniques that will allow us to bring our attention to the present moment. We remember what we are present to. I want all of us to have a thrilling two weeks and a lifetime of memories.

The Chef’s Tour to France in 2010 was a once in a lifetime experience. We completely immersed ourselves in the food and wine in the South of France, as well as Paris. My enjoyment of the adventure was enhanced by the great group of folks who went, as well as Tom’s expert planning and attention to detail. — Steve M., Personal Chef

Lisbon – 5 nights

A few years ago I started hearing stories of Portugal. More recently, three good friends told me it’s one of the best kept secrets of Europe, and Lisbon is at the heart of it! Two of them just came back from vacation there and the other had lived there for two months. They were amazed at how fabulous the food scene is, and talked enthusiastically about the beautiful architecture.

Our foodie guides will be Culinary Backstreets. Their tours are well curated, providing a deep experience of the local fare. As long as “adventure” means discovering all kinds of local foods,  I’m there!

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San Sebastian – 3 nights

San Sebastian is a small, verdant city right on the Atlantic coast. Once a fishing village, it now has more Michelin stars per square meter than any other city on the planet. It’s my favorite place in Europe and a foodie Mecca.

Mimo Foods will be our culinary guides. I’ve done two of their programs and loved them. The Pintxos Tour was the best, and I can’t wait to do it again. Pintxos (PEEN-chos) are the Basque version of tapas, smaller and skewered. In addition we’ll have our own private dining room and chef’s table. One in which we can interact with the chef, watch him plate and sample excellent Spanish wines. Finally, we’ll get a little dressed up and join the hundreds of locals in the evening stroll along the bay called the Paseo de La Concha. On my last adventure to Spain, San Sebastian was the jewel in the crown. I can’t wait to go back!

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Barcelona – 5 nights

Barcelona’s culinary scene came alive in the five days I spent with Tom touring markets, eating pintxos and tapas, discovering hidden gems, and learning from his expertise and love of all things food – would do it again in a heartbeat!    James S.

Barcelona is a great walking city. Mostly flat, with so much to see and so much to eat! We’ll do a private tour of the neighborhoods, seeing extraordinary architecture and learning colorful history.

Culinary Backstreets will be our guides to Barcelona as well. From markets, to street stalls, to tucked-away restaurants filled with locals. Because some places barely have menus – we get what they serve, and it will be beautiful! Furthermore, we’ll enjoy the foods that the locals love.

Food Stories

Talk about adventure! One of my favorite places in Barcelona is La Peradata, a seafood restaurant with a queue that starts 30 minutes before it opens! When it does, the line starts moving.

I shuffled through the front door, my heart pounding. I needed to give them my order quickly to keep the line moving. When I reached the front, I was standing before a large, iced display of the freshest seafood of all shapes and sizes. Everything was mere hours from the sea. Following the other customers’ lead, I pointed to what I wanted: razor clams, mussels, giant shrimp, and a nice slice of swordfish. The clerk weighed it all out and asked me a couple basic questions about how I’d like it prepared. The cooks prepared the seafood to my liking and I waited a whole ten minutes! Extraordinary. Most of all it was a foodie experience I would never have in the States. I loved it.

Finally, I found myself walking down one of the main streets in the winding, narrow lanes of the Gothic district munching Iberico ham from a paper cone, on my way to the main promenade Las Ramblas, ultimately to La Boqueria, a huge indoor market jammed with food stalls selling ham (of course), baccalau (salted cod), fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and lots and lots of food counters where you can sit and enjoy some of the incredible bounty. So wonderful.

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After touring Barcelona with Chef Tom during the festive week of La Mercè, it is now one of my favorite cities for both food and architecture. Tom and Culinary Backstreets took us to spectacular seafood markets, Catalonian restaurants, torrone and gelato shops. I especially loved the street food—savory bits of iberico ham in cones while exploring the cobblestone streets of the Cuitat Vella. There’s so much more to explore, and I can’t wait to return! —Connie B.

Registration opens May 20, 2017.

$3,320 per person, which includes accommodations, airfare and bus fare between cities, tours, all breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners.

The price is based on current exchange rates and is subject to change. It does not include travel costs to and from Europe, tips, insurance, alcoholic beverages, laundry, excess baggage charges, or other items of a personal nature.

For more information, e-mail or call 415-420-6300.

Our French culinary adventure was everything we hoped for. Paris was magical and a luxury barge in the south of France was the perfect place for relaxing, eating, and of course drinking wine! Tom did an amazing job of coordinating travel, excursions and accommodations. We can’t wait to go on the next adventure!  — Denise  F.A., Personal Chef

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