Jean, our Travel GuruJean, is a great passionate of Haute Cuisine who has passed from a very traditional French culture of food & wine to the Iberian passion. Passion for a new gastronomy created by extraordinary professionals, men and women who love their country and its deepest spirit: Terra Traditions is not only about stars, it is all about human beings…
Cuisine as an artistic creation to delight the senses
This is the way gastronomy is seen in the Iberian Peninsula, as both Spaniards and Portuguese devote a real reverence for food.
A range of five-star delightful culinary attractions as varied as the landscapes and climates of these countries, contributing to a world of aromas, tastes, textures, color and presentation.
Dishes by worldwide known chefs like Adrià, Berasategui, Arzak, Paco Roncero, David Muñoz, Ruscalleda, Subijana, Eneko Atxa Azurmendi, Santamaría, and Roca have placed Spain at the forefront of international haute cuisine.
On the other side of Iberia, in Portugal alone there were nine new Michelin stars in 2017. Awarded chefs like Vítor Sobral, Ricardo Costa, Alexandre Silva, Henrique Sá Pessoa, José Avillez, Miguel Laffan, Rui Paula, Leonel Pereira or Rui Silvestre. The portuguese haute cuisine is also linked to its countryside, on its aroma, scents, the sunshine... but one could say Portuguese diferentiates on a bigger relevance of the sea. We may find this seafood particularity very present also in a spanish region, Galicia, as it's an adjoining region.
The emergence of haute cuisine in Spain has meant a before and after. Spanish chefs opted for a disruptive innovation, and that bet has placed Spanish gastronomy on the world map.
The main architect of this miracle is Ferran Adrià, but todays culinary excellence overflows the fame of El Bulli and travels all across the Spanish geography. From San Sebastián to Malaga, passing throughMadrid, Barcelona, Girona, or Bilbao, in 2014, over 142 Spanish restaurants boasted Michelin stars, an increase of almost 35% compared to 2006. Spain is currently the sixth country in the world with more Michelin awarded restaurants and the third country with more chefs in the ranking of the World Top 50 in the prestigious magazine Restaurant, just behind France and USA. Even more surprising is the fact that San Sebastián is the second largest city in the world, after Kyoto, with the highest density of Michelin stars per capita. In the first decade of 2000, the supremacy of El Bulli was totally absolute: it was named best Restaurant of the world six consecutive times (2002, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009). The closing of Ferran Adrià’s premises has not diminished the Spanish ranking supremacy: In 2013 with the recent closing of El Bulli, it was time for El Celler de Can Roca to become the best restaurant in the world. And not far away were Mugaritz (fourth) and Arzak (eighth), both precisely in San Sebastián.
Meanwhile, in Portugal, foodies no longer come to this country only looking for cod and sardine. They are eventually discovering a modern cuisine with a Portuguese essence.
The keys to contemporary Portuguese cuisine are the vindication of its unique local products, such as the varied fishes and shellfish, as well as diverse meats, cheeses, sausages, wines. It has to be highlighted the influence of the Kitchens where the Portuguese settled, like Brazil, Africa, India or Asia. And also, there are common elaborations with the Iberian brother. For instance, Gazpacho is as Spanish as Portuguese, with a similar base but done differently.
Featuring lots of great restaurants and diverse culinary options, Lisbon is the epicenter of a new wave in the Portuguese, with a series of chefs shaking the panorama with very personal proposals. The most outstanding one is José Avillez, owner of Belcanto, first two Michelin stars of Lisbon. The Portuguese cooked (sophisticated and powerful in essence), the Cabidela with ox tail and smoked eel, the smoked mullet with watercress emulsion and seaweed mayonnaise, cod liver stones, the spheres of lupins (Bulliniana evocation) or the Corn porridge with rice and cod are part of the menu of “reinvented Portuguese cuisine”.
Creativity, Sensibility, Local Products and Technology: inside the Iberian stoves there is invention and disruption
We always follow the traditional winemaking concept: Wine is Terroir…
What is terroir? Jean says: “Terroir is NOT the old, it is the ability to innovate with the old”.
The Spanish and Portuguese vineyards are among the oldest of Europe. These grapes need tremendous know-how: ground, grape, climate, altitude, and, finally, the people, families of winemakers who persist faithful to the singularity of their traditions. But what is truly unique is the blending of tradition and innovation, with a permanent creation of extraordinary new wines going over 95 in Robert Parker’s punctuations.
In the actual context of winemaking, the Iberian Country is by itself the old European terroir where enologists allow themselves to be boldly creative!