Many foreigners come to Spain to retire and never leave the coast; others fall in love with the place, become a part of Spanish society and then create businesses promoting all things Spanish.
The Spanish Thyme Traveller, a Valencian based holiday company has recently launched a new minibreak called The Valencia Paella Project which enables the visitor to not only try different recipes of paella but to shop for the ingredients with a chef and then learn to cook the dish in a hands-on class. This is a unique food experience trip which really immerses visitors in the world of paella.
The company, set up by Patrick Waller a long-term British resident in the Xativa area who used to be the export manager of the frozen food company Frudesa, already has some unique tours which all revolve around gastronomy and visiting the interior regions of Valencia and Teruel.
The company is run with his Spanish wife Julia Espin and the Spanish Thyme Traveller specializes in organizing five day trips to these two relatively unspoilt areas. Always in small groups of eight people they organize the transport, the accommodation, restaurants, visits, wine tastings and much more. The objective of the tours is that the visitor experiences authentic local dishes, local wine and culture. Their star trip, The Borgias Tour, includes stays in Bocairent and Xativa, visiting local wine vineyards and historical sites as well as tasting the regional delicacies in an array of different types of restaurants. The trip includes guided visits to places linked to the infamous Borgia family and their Xativa roots, including Xativa’s spectacular castle.
If you want a bit more of an outdoor trip then The Iberos Tour might be the one for you. It has more walking than the other trips and visits two amazing archaeological sites which are the remains of Ibero fortified mountain top villages. These unique, fascinating places are rarely visited by tourists (or even local people) and are quite unspoilt.
With twenty years experience of living and working in Valencia, Paddy and Julia are able to provide their customers with a wealth of local knowledge and help them experience some of the best dishes in the interior of Valencia and in Teruel. Their passion for all things Spanish makes them the perfect hosts. Whether it be walking in rosemary covered mountains or tasting a new wine in a small family run winery their enthusiasm is contagious.
They also do day trips. One to Historical Xativa, another which is a Wine Trip to Fontanares and one to Teruel (The city of The Lovers of Teruel).These trips are an ideal accompaniment for tourists visiting Valencia capital for a few days and who wish to see the historical, rural and provincial interior of the province of Valencia.
Being English of course Paddy still likes his beer, and has been one of many who have discovered the emerging artisan industry of local beer brewing and has even started exporting Spanish beer to Britain, which is almost as good as selling refrigerators to Eskimos!
Thyme Traveller is of course a fine example of an English ‘pun’, referring to ‘time’ and the herb ‘thyme’, so common along with rosemary in the aromatic mountains of Valencia.