Basque Country with Chef Andoni of Mugaritz
One Departure Only | May 20 - 24, 2019
Is it midnight, or 4 am? You lost track of time, cooking, dining and breaking out into song in a historic, wood-paneled tavern in San Sebastián in the Basque region of Spain. You’re with exclusive company: world-renowned chef Andoni Aduriz and members of this txoko, one of the region’s 200 or so traditionally male, secret gastronomic societies. And you’re the guest of honor. Sparkling txakoli wine has been poured from dramatic heights into your glass; you’ve sampled blackthorn liqueur, buttery cheeses, and silken hams in between bouts of chopping, searing, and sautéing the main course. You have never felt so at home. As the Basque say, Adiskide onekin, orduak labur. With a good friend, the hours are short.
Your curator on this exquisite culinary journey – exclusive to YPO members and their family and friends – is a legendary chef. Andoni Luis Aduriz is the chef at Mugaritz, the hillside Basque restaurant that’s been ranked among the world’s top ten tables for over a decade now. More than just a restaurant, it’s become a culinary Mecca for chefs, creators, and boundary-breakers of all kinds. Half mystic, half jester, Andoni approaches food in a way that’s equal parts cerebral and playful. Eating here is an adventure. (Dishes have been compared to cobwebs and stones; he’s made a salad in soup.) Make no mistake: All of it is unforgettably delicious.
This experience also proves how travel can be a force for good. It’s been handcrafted by Game Changers creator Jim Kane, a leader in the field of sustainable tourism and host of the digital food series Off the Table. Jim has spent the past 15 years using food as a vehicle for the kind of travel that makes a lasting impact and benefits local communities. On this life-changing trip, $700 per guest will be donated to Cocina Conciencia, a Spanish nonprofit that provides refugees with job training and placement in some of Spain’s leading kitchens.
The natural beauty of Basque country, from stunning coast to majestic mountains
The region's ancient culture, traditional producers, and centuries-old markets
In culinary abundance: rustic pintxos, secret supper clubs, Michelin-starred tasting menus
The cuisine and joyous spirit of Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz's chef and inspirational muse
Exclusive to YPO
This experience embodies the essence of 'Only in YPO': exclusive access, once-in-a-lifetime moments and the opportunity to use travel as a force for good. Intimate, thoughtful, and fun! Join us.
One of the world's most acclaimed chefs (literally), Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz offers a personal insider's tour of his Michelin-starred restaurant Mugaritz and invites us behind the doors of the city's most storied gastronomic society.
$700 per guest will be donated to benefit a local Spanish nonprofit, handpicked by Chef Andoni, that helps refugees find work skills, dignity and social inclusion in some of Spain's leading kitchens.
Basque Country is filled with age-old traditions and artisan producers. We'll meet them, from winemakers to farmer's committed to helping the region's last heritage breeds flourish in the 21st century.
Jim created Game Changers to develop singular experiences with leading chefs as a means to make a lasting impact, donating to hand-picked NGOs in destinations visited that are changing lives through food.
Andoni Luis Aduriz
Andoni is one of the world's most-celebrated chefs. Mugaritz, the Michelin two-star Mecca he opened in 1998, is the only restaurant to be ranked amongst the Top 10 of the World's 50 Best restaurants list every year since 2006.
Founder & CEO, Modern Adventure
Luis is a YPO Oregon Chapter member, and proud to partner with his friend Jim Kane to bring this extraordinary experience to YPO.
Day by Day
San Sebastián with Andoni Luis Aduriz, a legend among legends in the Michelin-starred Basque firmament. Secret gastronomic societies, centuries-old markets, a tasting menu at Mugaritz.
Day 1 | May 20
Ongietorri! Welcome to Basque country, one of the world’s most ancient cultures, and home to more Michelin stars than any other region of the world. We’ll start our adventure with a gentle walking tour of cobblestoned alleyways and a promenade lined with pastel-colored homes of San Sebastian, known affectionately as La Concha for the postcard-perfect, shell-shaped beach. In the evening, we’ll embark on a txikiteo, or epic pintxo crawl in search of the best of the region’s world-famous, toothpick-skewered tapas. Our route will be curated by Andoni. We’ll sample a classic Gilda (salted anchovies, green olives, pickled peppers) at an old-school tavern and try figs stuffed with foie gras. Pintxos in one hand and a glass of crisp cider just pulled from the tap in the other, we’ll perch cozily at little standing tables before moving on to the next venue (and the next, and the next).
Day 2 | May 21
In the morning, we’ll take a short ride out of town, through shimmering green, rolling hills, to a sprawling museum and sculpture park devoted to renowned local artist Eduardo Chillida, whose monumental abstract works, cast in iron, wood, and steel, pay homage to the region’s landscape and “black light.” After a member of the Chillida family takes us on a private tour of the sculpture park (whose whimsical creations are designed to be touched, even climbed on), we’ll enjoy picnic lunch then return to town for an evening of cooking and camaraderie at Gatzeltubide, a famous txokos (private gastronomic societies). Andoni, an honored member, will be our host. Us, intimidated? Nah. We’ll just take a deep breath, roll up our shirtsleeves, and pitch in just like we would if our best friends were having us over for dinner. By the end of the night, that’s exactly how it will feel.
Day 3 | May 22
To market, to market! This morning we’ll take a short drive past sheep grazing alongside emerald lakes to the small hilltop town of Ordizia, where, every Wednesday since 1512, marketgoers have shopped for local delicacies like live snails, alubias (beans traditionally served with blood sausage), picked green peppers and smoky Idiazabal cheese, which can still be purchased straight from the shepherds.
Next we meet Slow Food Presidium producer Pello Urdapilleta at his 18th-century family farmhouse nearby. Pello, an engineer by training, has dedicated his life to raising the region’s last remaining heritage pig breed, Euskal Txerria. We’ll visit the chestnut- and acorn-laden hillsides where Pello’s pigs, with their signature long floppy ears, happily roam. We’ll enjoy a long, leisurely lunch with the local farmers, feasting on rustic dishes including, of course, their sublime cured ham. After an afternoon walk down county lanes shimmering of emerald-green moss and lichen, we’ll return to San Sebastián in time to seek out our own dinner—if we have any room left, that is.
Day 4 | May 23
This morning we’ll enjoy being flaneurs, strolling along the waterfront and perhaps revisiting some of our favorite pinxto joints for a mid-morning tortilla before heading up into the hills to meet with Andoni at Mugaritz, literally one of the world’s most heralded restaurants. We’ll whet our appetites by touring the restaurant kitchen and participating in a brainstorming session with Andoni and Jon Ezeiza, his director of research, who will share with us the restaurant’s unique vision: connecting food with science, art, memory, sustainability, and the seasons. And then, we’ll experience the magic for ourselves, enjoying a three-hour, 20-course lunch built around an exclusive tasting menu prepared just for us. The evening is free for you to explore San Sebastián’s old quarter alleyways on your own.
Day 5 | May 24
Alas, our time together has come to an end. After a sumptuous hotel breakfast and a farewell morning stroll (and maybe just one more mad dash for a final pintxo—no judgement!), we’ll bid farewell to San Sebastián.
Maria CristinaSan Sebastián
Named in honor of the queen of Spain—the hotel's the first guest when it opened back in 1912—the five-star Maria Cristina is a true grande dame of the Belle Epoque, designed by the architect who also gave the world the Ritz hotels in Paris and Madrid. From the moment you ascend the stone stairs to the marble-columned lobby, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time—into an Agatha Christie novel, maybe, or a James Bond film.
Sipping a cocktail at the velvet-draped bar, you'll understand exactly why this is the place where Bette Davis ordered her last cocktail. Or perhaps you'll find yourself holed up, Casablanca-style, with your star-crossed lover, drinking a bottle of sparkling txkalito wine on the terrace as a Technicolor sunset melts into the Bay of Biscay below. One thing's for sure: after staying here, you'll always have San Sebastián.
Book Basque Country with Chef Andoni of Mugaritz
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per person, based on double occupancy
So many questions, right?
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
What does the price include?
Four nights at a unique five-star accommodation in San Sebastián or similar; meals and dining experiences as noted in the itinerary; private travel for all day trips and excursions; departure airport transfer; private tours with locals guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings, guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners; local beverages with meals.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverage not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Who is organizing this trip?
The trip is organized by Jim Kane and by Modern Adventure CEO / YPO Oregon Chapter member Luis Vargas. YPO does not create or develop information, materials, or event offerings shared on this page. YPO only passively displays such information. YPO does not provide analysis of the information, the suitability or safety of any events, or the reputation or acumen of members involved. The information, materials, and event offerings are entirely member led and controlled. Careful diligence is advised.
Who is traveling on this trip?
Modern Adventure limits the group to no more than 20 YPO members, their friends and family, as well as a few Modern Adventure staff members. You can expect to be joined by a range of fellow travelers in terms of age, background and configuration – including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. Modern Adventure travel experiences are about being fun and inclusive. Please call with any specific questions.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
Yes, there is a $1,200 supplement for solo travelers, to be paid at the time of booking.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel up to 96 days prior to the scheduled departure date and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel between 95 and 61 days in advance, there is a 50% cancellation fee. Within 60 days or less of departure there is a 100% cancellation fee. (See our Terms and Conditions for full details.)
What is the weather like?
The weather in May is generally sunny and temperate, with average low temperatures in the upper-50s and daytime highs in the mid- to high-60s degrees Fahrenheit. Expect the occasional rain shower, too.
What travel documents are needed?
Private US citizens are not required to have a visa for stays under 90 days in Spain. Just bring a valid US passport. For citizens of other countries, please check with the Spanish Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
We’re at your service.
Speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
Text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018