Gastrofestival and Madrid Fusion Merge in Taste of Spain

by Rosie Carbo /
Rosie Carbo's picture
Jan 21, 2012 / 0 comments

Gastrofestival and Madrid Fusion Merge in Taste of Spain

Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, says the best way to know a country is through its cuisine.  This is exactly what Madrid Fusion and the Gastrofestival had in mind when they merged to offer a singular, savory taste of Spain.

From Jan. 23 through Feb. 5, Spain’s capital city of Madrid will host a citywide gastronomical extravaganza.  Dubbed “La Gran Cocina” or the “Big Kitchen,” Madrid is gearing up for an onslaught of foodies, chefs and tourists.

This city of 5 million Madrileños lives up to its “Big Kitchen” moniker.   Among the city’s nearly 3,000 restaurants, Madrid boasts 10 award-winning Michelin-star establishments.  The stellar Michelin chefs are as celebrated as Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Pedro Almodovar.

Now, food critics and food lovers can rub elbows with chefs who routinely rise to gastronomical innovations at this event.  Madrid Fusion, a conference for international culinary arts professionals founded in 2003, is the icing on the cake.

The Gastrofestival, in its third year, has teamed with Madrid Fusion to bring haute cuisine from myriad restaurant kitchens to the general public.  With upscale restaurants situated within 5-star hotels, such as the Ritz, the Westin Palace, the Inter-Continental and others, everyone is welcome to indulge.

Up-and-coming chefs on the cutting-edge of food innovations, and renowned established chefs will participate in formal dinners, cooking demonstrations and food and wine events from nearly 300 participating Madrid businesses.

Madrid Fusion, billed as the world’s largest culinary event, will complement the Gastrofestival’s 15-day run throughout Madrid for three days this year.  The “fusion” component is from Jan. 24 through Jan. 26.

Star chefs representing Michelin restaurants are: Chef Jordi Roca of the three-Michelin star El Cellar de Can Roca in Catalonia; Paco Roncero of the two-Michelin star restaurant, La Terraza Casino and David Munoz of DiverXo, a one-Michelin star restaurant.       


Chef Jordi Roca

Chef Jordi Roca

At Madrid Fusion I 2010, world famous chef Ferran Adria created international headlines when he revealed plans to close his El Bulli restaurant from 2012 to 2013. So food and wine writers listen up; you may get more than a bite to eat at planned events.


Chef Ferran Adria

Chef Ferran Adria 


The keyword is “Gastrofestival” for foodies and tourists who anticipate travel to Spain and want to take advantage of special rates and discount packages.  Those packages include but are not limited to hotels, restaurants and even tapas bars.

Nearly 25 art galleries and museums, such as Joaquin Sorolla museum, will give new meaning to the term “still life” through displays, exhibits and the like.  From bookstores to boutiques all businesses will highlight humanity’s connection to food beyond survival.

Fashion boutiques will have window displays emphasizing fashion’s relationship to fine cuisine.  Internationally recognized fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada will stage a display in her boutique on elegant Serrano Street in Madrid’s posh Salamanca district.

Additionally, two new categories were added this year: Gastro health, which focuses on spa treatments and Gastro wine culture, which features wine tastings and wine classes in select locations around Madrid.  Wine tours to wineries outside of Madrid will be offered during the festival as well.


Chef Paco Roncero

Chef Paco Roncero


With direct flights from major American cities, such as New York, Dallas and Miami, visitors with food in mind, will be well served.  Since Madrid is also a city that never sleeps, cafes, pubs, cantinas and mom and pop shops are all poised to participate.

Javier Oyarzabal, Madrid’s Economic Affairs Coordinator, traveled to New York with a handful of top chefs and a celebrity mixologist last November to act as Spanish ambassadors for Madrid Fusion and Gastrofestival.

Oyarzabal pointed out that the whole city of Madrid will wrap itself in gastronomic themes to draw visitors and locals into the celebration.  Even more tantalizing is the chance to meet star chefs and dine from their specially prepared menus. 

But with less than a week to pack, there is no time like the present to make reservations with a number of airlines.  Sponsors include Iberia Airlines, American Express, the city of Madrid and many others.  For more information visit: and 



Submitted by Rosie Carbo, freelance journalist.



All photos courtesy of Oficina Española de Turismo