Aaron Weiss – USA – March 2012 – Gourmet Catalonia Tour

My wife and I spent our honeymoon with Spain Taste on the Costa Brava culinary tour—it was incredible. Yvan Mas and Chef Vincenc provided an incredible adventure of local touring, knowlegeable history, exquisite dining and meaningful, practical cooking lessons easily translated to the kitchen at home. Yvan’s local knowledge, excellent English, and friendly accomodating demeanor make him a unique and superb tour guide.
The beauty of the Costa Brava region exists on its own, yet the choices made by Yvan on the itinerary were excellent not only for their beauty but for the manner in which Yvan immerses you in the history and then the flavor of each destination. The restaurants and menu choices were each unique and provided an excellent opportunity to experience the Catalan culture through food. We never left a meal and the variety of selections and the portions were substantial. Spending each day with Yvan was a true pleasure as he is sincerely excited about sharing Catalonia with guests and bridging different cultures from around the world together.
The Hotel La Placa is a stunning beauty with modern, luxury accomodations set in a building and village dating from at least the 16th century. Staying at La Placa was like traveling back in time to the quiet and peaceful farming community without sacrficing any modern convienence whatsoever. The accomdations, friendly and helpful staff, and pool and garden area all help to create the most romantic destination I have encountered. It is at La Placa where we met Chef Vincenc who is a true superstar in the kitchen both as master chef and culinary teacher. Upon meeting Vincenc, his bright smile and perfect English put me at immediate comfort secure in the knowledge were we in good hands. Chef Vincenc cooked for us, cooked with us, and like Yvan became a new friend. We have been fortunate to dine at many of the top restaurants in the world, and the meals prepared by Vincenc compete equally with all of them. He is a true artist blending flavor, odor, texture, appearance and temperature into each bite. The welcoming meal prepared for us was worthy of Michilen stars.
Cooking classes with Vincenc were absolute fun. Rather than trying to teach all the skills and knowledge he has acquired over many years, Vincenc focuses his lessons on teaching efficiency and practicality in the kitchen. The lessons, always accompanied by excellent wines, were occassions to laugh, learn, taste, and challenge ourselves to try new things. I am very comfortable in the kitchen and the primary cook in our home, and my wife is quite uncomfortable cooking. We both were fully engaged in the cooking lessons with Vincenc, and both left with new ideas of working in the kitchen at home.
We were the only two people taking the tour and were spoiled to have Vincenc and Yvan all to ourselves. Yet I am confident the tour and lessons would be equally fulfilling were we part of a group of friends or a group of strangers. Both Yvan and Vincenc are masters of hospitality and made our week with Spain Taste one of the best experiences we have shared together. We left Spain Taste with new friends, Yvan and Vincenc, who we will visit again and who are welcome in our home at any time.