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Experience the unspoiled warm and sunny Mediterranean island of Menorca and see some of its best-kept secrets. From the Carthaginian and Moor to the British and the French people, all have left their mark on the island’s architecture, culture, and culinary traditions. This retreat is brimming with fun gastronomic activities that are carefully planned to allow you to appreciate Menorca’s abundance of excellent food and wine. Take this trip and enjoy a satisfying holiday in its truest essence.
You will be accommodated in a beautiful farmhouse that sits on a 100-acre private estate. Located within a 15-minute walk from a small semi-private cove on the south coast and surrounded by untouched countryside, it offers seclusion, tranquility, and comfort in equal measure. The property has been impeccably renovated, retaining the traditional exposed wooden beams, vaulted ceilings, and rough stone walls.
The eight bright, spacious bedrooms, all with comfortable beds, are simply but tastefully furnished, and all have sleek, modern en-suite bathrooms with complimentary toiletries. A fabulous, contemporary kitchen and plenty of comfortable seating areas create a convivial atmosphere indoors. Outdoors, you will find various shady, covered terraces, a pergola, and barbecue facilities, ensuring plenty of space to spread out and find quiet spots, or come together for drinks and dining al fresco.
There is a large free-form pool set in a well-tended garden and surrounded by wooden decking on one side, with plenty of sun loungers. The remainder of the estate, although wild, is yours to explore. Bikes are available should you wish to cycle around the estate, and the seemingly endless stretch of sand at Son Bou beach is a 15-minute walk or five-minute drive away.
Experience an authentic Menorcan culinary retreat and enjoy a week packed with fantastic food, wonderful wine, and new recipes. Menorca is a Balearic island in Spain, blessed with an abundance of excellent food - fresh fish from the surrounding seas, juicy, sun-ripened fruit and vegetables, artisan cheeses and cured meats, local pastries, and more.
Through a combination of hands-on cooking classes and demonstrations, professional chefs will not only show you how to turn superb ingredients into memorable meals, but youʼll also refine your kitchen skills, master new techniques, and go home armed with a stack of vibrant and healthy recipes. For some meals, youʼll eat what you prepared during the class. For others, you will eat at restaurants or enjoy something prepared by an in-house chef.
During the week, activities will take place in various locations. Youʼll practice your seafood preparation skills, tour a winery, visit a farm, and explore different towns and villages. Youʼll get to see Menorca from an insiderʼs perspective and, along the way, youʼll gain an insight into how the islandʼs colorful history has shaped many of its gastronomic traditions.
The first of your wonderful chefs is a specialist in seafood preparation who trained in five-star London restaurants before going to Menorca more than 20 years ago to run her own restaurants. Any apprehension you may have previously felt about cooking fish and shellfish will be put to rest with her and, before you know it, you will be tucking into a seafood feast by the water’s edge.
Chef David is an excellent teacher and will be teaching at the farmhouse. He is passionate about food and insists on only the freshest and best quality ingredients. One of the islands leading chefs, he trained in Madrid before working in many well-known restaurants in the mainland. Later on, he fell in love with Menorca and so he opened a lovely ocean front restaurant which you will be visiting for one of the lunches.
Your in-house chef is a qualified nutritionist and particular about the food she cooks and eats. Please be assured that the food she produces is quite simply divine.
The following itinerary gives you an idea of what to expect from this culinary week, but bear in mind that you are going to be spending it in Spain and so things can very much change. Days follow the easy rhythm of Spanish life where meals are taken later and there is always time for a siesta or a little quiet time in the afternoon.
After arrival at the farmhouse, the rest of the day is left open for you to acclimatize, explore the property, go for a walk in the countryside, find your way to the beach, or relax by the pool. You will all meet in the evening for welcome drinks and dinner prepared by an in-house chef which, weather permitting, will be served at the terrace.
This day will have an early start so that you can take the boat across Mahon harbor to Isla del Rey, a tiny island that once served as a military hospital. Following a guided tour during which youʼll hear about this islandʼs fascinating history, youʼll enjoy a traditional Menorcan breakfast. Back on the mainland, you will take a stroll along the picturesque harbor and stop for a glass of homemade vermouth (or a cup of coffee, if you prefer) at one of the Menorca team's favorite little bars.
Then itʼs off to the seaside - the best place to learn about seafood preparation. Youʼll meet the first of your wonderful professional retreat chefs who trained in well-known London restaurants before running two successful restaurants on the island. Any apprehension you may have previously felt about cleaning and cooking fish and shellfish will be put to rest and, before you know it, youʼll be tucking into a seafood feast at the waterʼs edge.
You will head back to the farmhouse in the afternoon and get ready for another cooking class. This one will be taught by chef David, one of the islandʼs leading chefs who trained in Madrid before falling in love with Menorca and opening his restaurant there. The evening will be spent learning how to prepare a variety of modern tapas, as well as practicing carving Iberico ham. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, along with wine pairings, for dinner.
For this day, you will travel west to Ciudadella, Menorcaʼs second largest town and the former capital of the island. Itʼs a town steeped in history and with some wonderful baroque and Gothic architecture so youʼll want to bring your camera. You will spend some time exploring the narrow cobbled streets, ancient churches, and elegant and old palaces before making your way to a typical townhouse.
You will proceed with a class on how to prepare one of Menorcaʼs most traditional dishes - the famed caldereta, or seafood stew. After feasting on caldereta, salad, and wine in the courtyard, you will make your way back to the farmhouse and spend a relaxed afternoon reading, chatting, sunbathing, or swimming. Thereʼs nothing more you need to do today except make space for another excellent meal prepared by the in-house chef.
Itʼs a slow and easy start for this day. You can go for a bike ride, wander down the coast, or be transported into the nearby town of Alaior for a spot of shopping if you want. Chef David will lead a cooking class at the farmhouse at noon so that whatever you prepare with the fresh, seasonal, and flavorful ingredients he picks up, youʼll be able to enjoy it for lunch. Save space for dessert, which is going to be one of chef Davidʼs closely-guarded secret family recipes.
In the early evening, you will visit a winery. There will be a tour of the vineyards and wine-making facilities before tasting a few of the different wines, paired with some tempting tapas.
This will be a totally free day. Stay at the farmhouse and soak up the peace, head out on your own to see what gems you find, or ask the Menorca Retreats team to help you organize your activities for the day. Anything from horseback riding to jeep safaris or shopping is possible.
Lunch and dinner are not included today, so it will be a great opportunity for you to try a local restaurant or two. Just ask if you want the Menorca team to make you reservations. Alternatively, if you prefer to eat at the farmhouse, meals can be ordered with advance notice.
In the morning, those who wish may visit the island capital of Mahon. Wander through the main shopping streets, stop for a cold drink in one of the many squares, and enjoy the views of the natural harbor. Back at the farmhouse, chef David will join you around mid-day for a cooking class focusing on a traditional Spanish dish, which you will then enjoy for lunch.
In the evening, you will visit a historic farmhouse for an entertaining history lesson - in this case the story of how the British people introduced gin production to the island in the 18th century. Youʼll be able try the local tipple in several variations, illustrating the different ways it has been imbibed over the centuries. Afterwards, you will go to Cala Fonts, a pretty little fishing port lined with bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a drink and snack, or just take a walk along the waterfront.
For this day, you will go to a local farm that produces the popular Queso de Mahon cheese. Youʼll be able to see the artisan process of cheese-making and, of course, taste it at different stages of maturity along with a variety of local cured meats and sausages.
There will be no cooking class for this day. Instead, you will enjoy lunch at chef Davidʼs seaside restaurant and bid him farewell. Back at the farmhouse, thereʼs one more chance to get hands-on in the cooking department when everybody pitches in to prepare the evening barbecue - the group's last meal together - accompanied by fine wines, live guitar music, and lots of laughs.
It's time to pack your bags, but donʼt forget your new recipes and to wish your new friends a fond farewell.
This culinary holiday will take place in the magical island of Menorca, Spain. It is located in the western Mediterranean and it is just a very short flight from Barcelona and Madrid, and a two-hour flight from many UK airports. The island has charted a different course from neighboring Mallorca and Ibiza, and remains charmingly low-key.
You won’t find many designer boutiques, exclusive nightclubs, or party boats in the area. What you will find is sleepy little fishing villages, rolling hills dotted with whitewashed farmhouses, and well over 100 beaches and coves, many of which remain completely undeveloped. The peaceful 100-acre estate where you will stay is located within walking distance of a long sandy beach, shops, pharmacy, bakery, bars, and restaurants.
All three daily meals are included in the price of this retreat, except for the lunch and dinner on the fifth day. For some meals, you will eat what you prepared during the class, while for others, you will dine at restaurants or enjoy something prepared by your in-house chef.
This authentic Menorcan culinary holiday is packed with food of exceptional quality and wonderful wines. The island of Menorca is blessed with an abundance of excellent fresh food and through the combination of hands-on classes, the chefs will show you how to turn these superb ingredients into memorable meals. Along the way, you will gain an insight into how the islandʼs colorful history has shaped many of its gastronomic traditions.
If you're feeling adventurous, Menorca Retreats can help you organize a series of activities and excursions at an additional cost. You can try a jeep safari which is a very popular day trip option to visit otherwise inaccessible landscape. You can also go for a picnic on the beach, kayaking tour, motorboat or sailing trip, horse riding on Cami de Cavalls (a restored ancient track around the island coast), bicycle tour, scuba diving lessons, an equestrian show, and much more.
You can book facial services or massages at the farmhouse spa on advanced notice.
Please book your flight to arrive at Menorca Airport (MAH). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Menorca Retreats will pick you up from the airport.
There are ferries from Barcelona, Valencia, and Mallorca, Spain. Please let Menorca Retreats know about your arrival details so they can pick you up from the boat.