Food, Wine, and (Agri)culture Trip to Spain
Joseba Encabo, CHE
Having the opportunity to visit the core parts of Spain is what enables our students to experience the real essence of a different culture.
The students who participate in the Food, Wine, and (Agri)culture class and trip to Spain get exposed to a diverse variety of elements that are part of the food industry worldwide. They have the privilege of meeting with chefs and attending cooking demonstrations and tastings by elite chefs, pastry chefs, and chocolatiers, as well as participating in discussions and tastings with well-known enologists.
During the trip, our students witness the hard work of the fishermen of the coastal towns of the Basque Country and the farmers who breed Iberian pigs in Andalucia or Castile and León. They tour the big cheese-making facilities as well as the artisanal, family-owned cheese makers and small bakeries. And they experience the wines of Spain—Cava from the Penedes region, Sherry from Madrid and Jerez de la Frontera, and vintages from the internationally known Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Txakoli regions.
This opportunity broadens students’ way of thinking and encourages them to think outside the box. They integrate quickly, socializing as Spaniards do and experiencing the culture in many different ways, from participating in traditional festivities to beholding historic architectural wonders to being serenaded by the rhythms of the flamenco or the fandango. Throughout the experience, they are always observing and learning—taking notes, researching topics, and applying critical thinking skills.
Our students always say that this opportunity changes their lives. It helps them grow, and gives them the confidence to become better, both personally and professionally.
My name is Dan Grossman. I am from Massachusetts and am a 21-year-old student here at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, just finishing up the college’s bachelor’s degree program.
I have been in love with cooking for as long as I can remember. My father was a huge inspiration for me in beginning my culinary career. He was always showing me different techniques and encouraged me to always try new things, not only in cooking, but in life.
This past January, I took the opportunity to spend three weeks traveling through Spain with 30 of my classmates as part of the BPS Food, Wine, and (Agri)culture experience. The trip is designed to give us the opportunity to learn about food and wine from another culture. This hands-on experience changed the way I think about Spanish wine, food, culture, and people, really giving me something I could never get from a book.
We tasted delicious food and amazing wine, but also were welcomed with open arms into the homes of Chef Encabo’s friends. We were able to see their homes, families, and traditional way of cooking. We visited beautiful wineries, farms, museums, and world-class restaurants—and even got to visit San Sebastian, where we experienced the Festival de San Sebastian, the night where Saint Sebastian (the patron saint of chefs) reigns supreme.
This trip really changed my life. I was able to have a deeper understanding of food and wine, and gained insight on the Spanish culture that I will never forget. So, I invite you to join me on this edible adventure to España!