Hi 🙂 I’m currently taking Food, Taste, & Waste and my study tour was in Spain. We went on the study tour last week and I had a great time! We were mainly in Palamos and Barcelona. The activities that we had for class were really fun and good learning experiences. We were there from Monday (6/19) to Friday (6/23).
We left Copenhagen Monday morning and were in Madremanya by midday. Our first activity was a Michelin Star restaurant. We were served several courses of food and wine. There were probably around 5 starters, the entrée, and then dessert. There was a shocking amount of food waste in this style of eating! They gave us plates of meat, shrimp, bread, and many other things for the starters and there was so much that we left a lot on our plates.
After our meal, we visited the small town, learned about the history, and toured the vineyard. When we were finished with the tour, we left Madremanya and went to our hotel in Palamos. The hotel was right in front of the beach and boardwalk, and it was much nicer than I was expecting. Once again, DIS did a great job with housing (usually organizations/schools are really cheap about hotels). Once we arrived at the hotel, we had free time and a lot of my classmates and I explored the beach and boardwalk. The boardwalk was all lit up at night with food stands, rides, and jewelry stalls. It was a fun night with beautiful views of the beach!
The next morning we had free time until 3pm and money given to us by DIS to spend on our lunches (DIS provides 2 free meals a day). After going to the hotel breakfast, I went to the farmers’ market in the area. It was like a flea market and farmer’s market combined. It was a cool experience and I bought myself a dress and some earrings (everything is really cheap in that part of Spain for whatever reason). Eventually, four of us got lunch from a place recommended by my professor and it was really good and cheap for the amount of food we got (3 starters, 4 meals, and drinks for only 79€). Our activities on Tuesday were the Fishing Museum, the fish market, sailing on a 1950s fishing boat, and eating cooked shrimp in the bay. The fishing museum had a lot of information on how Spaniards fished historically and the different methods they used. The captain of the ship showed up after we were done at the museum and showed us the fish market and the process from the boat to the market. The boat ride itself was about an hour, but we spent another 2 hours in the bay: swimming, cooking, and eating shrimp.
On Wednesday morning, we went to a nearby park and spoke with the senior sustainability manager from Heura Foods. She spoke about the plant-based meat industry in Spain and Europe, Heura Foods’ mission, supply line, and life cycle analysis. Then we walked to La Boqueria which is one of the oldest markets in Europe. In groups, we went on a treasure hunt to find the oldest stands in the market. There were a lot of different stalls: fruit, meat, chocolate, seafood, empanadas, restaurants, and more. I really enjoyed the fruit and chocolate stalls. The fruit stalls had these great mixed fruit juices and fresh fruit. The chocolate stalls had a lot of chocolate covered nuts, my favorite being the dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts. This was probably my favorite place in Barcelona!
My dinner activity was to go to a restaurant called Fat Veggies and explore the neighborhood nearby with a group of my classmates. When we went to the restaurant, we got the tasting menu which was all of the starters, most entrees, and all of the desserts. Part of our activity was to speak with the waitress about the mission of the restaurant and how they incorporate the Slow Food movement into their food.
On Thursday, we had an activity with an organization called Espigoladors which means gleaning in English. Gleaning is the act of collecting crop residues from farmers’ fields after they have been harvested commercially. This organization’s mission is to reduce food waste and food insecurity through gleaning. My class first spoke with one of the employees about their organization and mission, and then we went to a protected agricultural land in Barcelona to pick small pears that were too small for selling commercially. Later, we had to use other food that the Espigoladors had gleaned to make our lunch. We made pasta with a healthy red sauce and banana pancakes. The pasta was interesting, but the banana pancakes were delicious especially when topped with the peach marmalade that Espigoladors produces.
On the last day, we went to a vineyard in the mountains. The vineyard is a social project that houses people, teaches them coping/life skills, and gives them a job. When we got there, we were split into groups to do two different activities. The first activity was to visit their small vegetable garden and learn about some native wild species that were edible. In the second activity, we were given a tasting of their most popular white wine and learned more about the social project. At their small restaurant, we were served lunch and tried more of their wine and reflected back on our experiences. Even I liked their white wine, and I don’t usually like wine! I would definitely recommend buying some as a present.
Spain was a beautiful place and the activities we did were a great demonstration of topics in our class. I was worried about the travel being difficult in such a big group, but it wasn’t stressful at all. I thought it was going to be expensive because the euro is currently stronger than the dollar, but everything was really cheap in comparison to Copenhagen. It was also cheaper than I feel most things are in New Hampshire as well. We were also given free time to explore and my professor was really knowledgeable on things in the area. I had a great time because the activities we did on this study tour are things that I would never have been able to do myself if I were to book myself a trip to Spain!