What We Do
Our passion–call it obsession–for Spanish and Portuguese food and wine leads us to evaluate each place we go based on these questions first: How is the food? What are the traditional dishes / food products? What types of wine do they produce / have on the menu? Once we have tasted around, we get on with investigating everything else a place has to offer. Culture, history, art, architecture, festivals, nature, scenery, etc.
Framed by this obsession with the food and wine of each region–and Spain and Portugal are hyper-regional– we create food- and wine-focused trips, with art, architecture, history and local traditions and culture included in the mix. How much of each you may ask. That depends on you and the trip you are looking for. In consultation with you we act as experience editors and travel concierges arranging the right combination of places and experiences with the best private guides.
We pride ourselves on our deep connections in Spain and Portugal and our ability to always offer insider's experiences with locals, chefs, winemakers and the like so that your exclusive experience allows you up-close exposure to the locals and the food, wine, and culture. We constantly track down the best people and experiences – from chefs to artisan producers to tapas bars, private winery visits to cooking classes, luxury lodgings to gourmet tasting experiences–and we work with specialist food, wine and culture guides to guarantee you expertly guided access and a memorable trip.
Epicurean Ways plans custom trips in nearly every corner of Spain and central and northern Portugal. We custom design each trip because no two travelers are alike in their reason for traveling, how they like to travel, and what they want to do and see. We regularly arrange trips for individuals and families, celebration groups, private clubs, wine and culinary industry professionals, and curious travelers. No trip is too short or too complex for us to craft. That’s what we love and that’s what we do.
Who We Are
Epicurean Ways was founded in 2007 by Jane Gregg whose love affair with Spain dates back to the late 1970s. A study-abroad program that turned into a five-year stay in Madrid, attending the Universidad Complutense, teaching English and eating in every tapas bar she saw, led to graduate school in Spanish Literature, and later to running her own translation agency in Los Angeles. Throughout she maintained a strong interest in the food, wine and traditions of Spain. Finally, in 2005, while living in Spain and walking the long lonely stretches of beach between El Palmar and Playa Bolonia in Cádiz, she decided to harness the accumulated knowledge, experience and passion to start the company specialized in food and wine tours in Spain.
Jane has spent the last twelve years tracking down every chef, winery, local specialist, artisan producer, specialist guide and food and wine writer in Spain and Portugal to set up the trips for Epicurean Ways. Jane has always insisted on working with food and wine specialist guides for the tours. And what has become the unofficial motto of Epicurean Ways was something that Jane felt strongly about from the beginning: Excellence in everything–every visit, every tasting, every encounter. Knowing that your time is valuable and that you don't travel across the ocean for mediocre experiences, she discards any and all experiences that don't meet her high standards. To this day Jane hand-selects the guides, hotels and experiences. This means looking long and hard before finding the unsurpassable activities and excellent guides that we include in our trips.
Since our beginnings twelve years ago, our trips have evolved and we have found scores of unique experiences, knowledgeable locals and specialist guides throughout Spain. We added Portugal trips in 2014. Jane spends part of every year in Spain and Portugal tasting wine, eating as much as possible and digging deep into the local culture. In 2017 she is spending time in Sevilla and Cádiz in Andalucía.
We custom design private trips for groups as small as two people and as large as 100 people. Many of our trips are for couples, family groups, groups of friends or fellow club members. Anniversaries, honeymoons, family get-togethers, significant birthdays, or annual vacations are all reasons our guests choose to travel with us.
We custom design private trips for wine clubs, wine shops, restaurants, chefs, alumni groups, culinary students and incentive groups as well. If you have a group, no matter the size, and are interested in traveling to Spain or Portugal we'd be happy to send you the itineraries from some of our group trips.
You tell us your ideas and interests and we'll help shape them into experiences and tours combined with hotels and restaurants chosen just for you. We don't charge for creating your custom trip even when it runs to various versions. View us as one part trip designer and one part concierge for travel in Spain and Portugal.
Read more about custom trip planning.
We offer trips with preset itineraries. They are ready-made, off the rack trips. These trips are on our website and can be reserved exactly as they appear. You can reserve them for two of you or for your club or group. Reserve a preset trip for your dates or modify the trip length to suit your schedule. Or simply use these trips as inspiration for your ideal trip. We have to tell you that we can offer you many amazing experiences and tours–experiences not found on the website–according to your interests, schedule and budget. Set up a call to find out more.
Who Are You?
You might be a wine enthusiast, a cultural traveler, food obsessed, an active traveler, or just curious and adventurous. We will create the ideal trip for you. Want walks along the Mediterranean coast? Done. Want a cooking class with a Michelin-star chef? Got it. Want to taste through the wines, including the older vintages, with the winemaker in the Priorat? Check. Want a private Prado Museum tour with an art specialist? Yep.
Where do you start? Contact us by email or telephone and we can tell you more about what your trip in Spain or Portugal can look like.
Travel in Spain and Portugal
Spain and Portugal tend to be food-obsessed countries. Each region, province, and even village, proudly lays claim to a traditional recipe or product, culinary tradition or food and wine related festival. Spain is one of Europe’s most progressive nations in architecture, urban planning, fashion, legislation and cuisine. At the same time, Spaniards maintain traditions in cooking, daily life, festivals and rituals. Our trips immerse you in these coexisting sides of Spain. In Portugal traditions hold strong in the kitchen and recipes resulting from centuries of seafaring and colonizing far reaches combine local and exotic ingredients.
Experiences We Like
Food & wine activities: market visits, producer visits, winery visits, wine tastings, cooking classes, tasting tours, traditional pastry-making, tapas tours
Cultural visits: architecture tours, art tours, historical city tours, bulls & horses
Active adventures: vineyard walks, coastal hikes, horseback riding, bike day-tours
Artisan producer visits: olive-oil producers, cheese makers, Iberian ham producers, traditional butchers, anchovy salters, farm visits
Spend time with chefs and winemakers
Combine local cuisine, elite cooking classes, secret tapas restaurants, sustainable farms and artisan producers, private tastings with winemakers, hikes through wine regions and tapas lunches on vineyard slopes.
Get access to our curated selection of restaurants, tapas eateries, specialty food shops and wine cellars
Enjoy the company of our specialist guides as they share their extensive knowledge of places, culture, history, art, architecture and gastronomy. Our on-the-ground guides continually scope out the best restaurants, wineries, artisan food producers and cultural experiences.
We hand-select boutique and luxury hotels based on high standards of comfort, charm and service, not stars alone. Many of the hotels we select are small charming hotels, country inns and private villas in historic palaces or houses. Many of the hotels are restored buildings with remarkable character, yet have all of the modern amenities you expect. Hotel location is very important to us, and we typically choose hotels in the historic centers of Spanish and Portuguese cities and towns, or in idyllic spots in the countryside. If your taste is high-end, ask us about our favorite luxury hotels in both Spain and Portugal.
Local Sustainable Travel
We support local economies and sustainability by working with local wineries, chef-owned restaurants, locally owned hotels, artisan food producers, and local guides. In doing so, we hope to help preserve the local food, wine and traditional means of production, and to help the local traditional activities in towns and regions remain economically viable.
We are board members on the Bon Appétit Magazine Epicurean Travel Advisory Board.