Celebrity Chef Esmeraldo Oteruelo has a passion for local, seasonal, and organic foods. Born and raised in the village of Pozos, Spain, he grew up learning the techniques and methods of mixed farming in a village that was totally self-sufficient. Classically trained in Switzerland and Madrid, he decided to explore the world as a chef. Esmeraldo has worked and lived in Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan, and China working for five-star hotels, exclusive five-star private clubs, and opening new restaurants.
a traveler United Kingdom
We happened to stumble across Esme Tours on TripAdvisor when planning a stop off on our drive across Northern Spain and we couldn't have imagined how fortunate it was that we opted for a day's course with Chef Esme and Laura. What an experience! Not only of cooking, but also of Chef Esme's journey from Pozos (an absolutely tiny little village with fewer than 25 inhabitants) out into the wild world of international cuisine and then back again to Pozos where he and Laura now host a lucky few cooking/food enthusiasts. We arrived for lunch and stayed the whole day, only to be sad that we weren't staying the night in one of the two beautiful guestrooms available there too. This is a bucket list experience - truly memorable - and we will be back for more.
We traveled to the small Spanish village of Pozos without really knowing what to expect. From the first minute we met Laura, we knew were in great hands. Laura and Esmeraldo have converted one of the village's beautiful old stone homes into what they call "The Lodge". It's a gorgeous place to stay, with every amenity. Chef E's kitchen is state-of-the-art, the beds are so comfortable we asked where they'd bought the mattresses (and would consider going back to buy them- we live in Madrid!), and breakfast on the second story terrace overlooking the nearby mountains was truly incredible.We spent four days/three nights enjoying Chef Esmeraldo's wonderful local breakfasts, delicious gourmet dinners, and excellent local wines. Chef was born and raised in Pozos but worked internationally for most of his career, meaning that his knowledge of both Spanish and international cuisine is top notch. This was obvious when we took a cooking class with him and were able to make seven (that's right-seven!) different traditional dishes, which we then feasted on for lunch.He adapted the class to what we were interested in, and allowed us to participate as much as we wanted. The recipes will be used again and again! Laura is also a great baker and bartender and provided us with lovely desserts and cocktails all made with local ingredients. Each day we took a walk in the nearby mountains, sneaking local blackberries as we wandered. We spotted local deer, and met the village cows, goats and cats along the way!We were also able to visit the nearby towns for their Sunday market and ceramics factory. If you are looking for a gorgeous setting, amazing foods, and an authentic local experience, look no farther. This is something I'll be raving about for years to come, and recommending to all friends and family who come to visit Spain. Thank you Laura and Esmeraldo, we can't wait to come back to Pozos!
a traveler Canada
My family and I stayed in Pozos with Laura and Chef E in the fall of 2014 and it was a great experience. The accommodations are fantastic (very new and well maintained) and the village of Pozos is as authentic as a historic mountain village can be. The hiking in the surrounding mountains is surreal; the area is remote but has been inhabited for thousands of years.Chef E is simply amazing; an authentic top end chef with worldwide experience who has returned to his birthplace to share his experiences with interested people. One thing that stands out is learning how to make Spanish tortilla; it was great in Spain and is wonderful at home as well. Laura is a great hostess and is very accommodating. Her customer service shines through and Laura is a consummate professional in every regard. Overall I highly recommend Esme Tours and look forward to returning in the future.
Denis Laforte Canada
If you would like to live an unique gastronomic experience among the impressive mountains of northern Spain, in a small old village of many centuries with 90 inhabitants and your own wood fire, just come to Pozos and meet the chef Esmeraldo and Laura, the warm hostess so thoughtful to your comfort. You'll enjoy your own two story house where on the ground floor you will learn to cook with E, a renowned chef still working for great hotels in Singapore for many years. It is really an adventure you will never forget.
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