Relais & Châteaux series: Echaurren, a Gastro hotel built on traditions

Relais & Châteaux series: Echaurren, a Gastro hotel built on traditions

Echaurren is housed in a small village of 2,000 inhabitants in the Riojan region of the Spanish Basque country. Tucked-in so deeply in the valley that it makes its discovery that much more gratifying and exciting. The drive leading to Echaurren reminded me so much of Southern California – from the climate to the landscape. Our super cool and sporty blue ride was the perfect companion for an adventure-filled road trip.  

Our super cool and sporty blue ride was the perfect companion for an adventure-filled road trip.

After a long stretch of lush orchards and Rioja vineyards, we finally arrived. Our hotel had a simple and rather modest appearance especially compared to the estates we had visited previously. Something about the place was enchanting – a certain energy radiated from it. And that spirit was felt in every corner and aspect of the hotel. 

A BIT OF HISTORY

Echaurren Tradición is part of the Riojan traditional cooking history stemming from the Matriarch of the family, Marisa Sánchez. As her legacy, she left her children decades worth of recipes tried and perfected. Her famed croquettes, chickpeas stew, beans, vegetable stew, or lamb with sauce, amongst many other ones have customers come back again and again asking for more. Marisa’s cuisine is like returning home to grandma every weekend – it’s loaded with memories forever engrained in one’s soul.

“The first restaurant in the history of La Rioja to get two Michelin stars. Echaurren Tradición is part of the Riojan traditional cooking history – a bundle of unforgettable recipes passed down from a mother to her children – best Gift ever!”

Then we have El Portal which feeds its inspiration from those beautiful old-school, heart-filling recipes with a major avant-garde twist, while always keeping close to tradition.

OUR ROOM

Small, modern and cosy. It had in it all the essentials for a pleasant and restful stay. Our bed overlooked a beautiful church surrounded by big green trees adorned by the most colorful flowers bloomed to perfection. Needless to say that we slept like babies and woke up like Yogis!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL 

And the Food!

What I got to experience at El Portal was pure magic! There are no other words to describe the entire experience which lasted almost five hours. Francis Paniego’s vision and ability to take a traditional cuisine and turn it into a modern art performance is phenomenal.

And of course a culinary experience of this caliber wouldn’t quite be the same if an equally outstanding wine menu did not accompany it. Our Sommelier did not let us down!

Thank you for welcoming us into your home and taking such great care of us! Hastà Luego!

Download my free iBook to get recipes never shared before, by Chef Francis Paniego himself exclusively for Discover Out Loud. There, you will also find recipes from the other Chefs we got to meet during our journey.

 
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