Celebrating Some of Our Favorite People: The Devour Tours Guides

A lot goes into creating a food tour, but there’s something to be said for the people who actually make the magic happen.

We’re talking about our Devour Tours guides, of course. Think of them as the in-the-know, local foodie friends you didn’t know you needed. If you’ve been on tour with one of them, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

This week, we’re celebrating our guides and all their hard work connecting curious travelers to local communities through food. Meet some of them below—or in person by coming on tour!

Meet some of our favorite Devour Tours guides!

Miranda Bild, Devour Seville

Devour Seville guide Miranda
After years of calling the Andalusian capital home, Miranda is an honorary sevillana herself!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Chicharrones de Cádiz at Peregil—I call it my “desert island food!” The burst of different spices, herbs, garlic and amazing pork belly flavor that exists in one little mouthful is incredible!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

The Enrique Becerra waiters! I’ll never forget how all five of them came out of the kitchen on the evening of my birthday 1.5 years ago with a little cake and a candle, all singing happy birthday to me. It made my year!

Javier Becerra outside his restaurant in Seville
Owner Javier at Enrique Becerra. He’s Enrique’s son and the seventh generation of restauranteurs in his family!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Probably the evening above! After the tour, several of the guests and I carried the merriment on well into the wee small hours. We’re still all in touch 1.5 years later!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

To let me take them out for a drink and a tapa and show them my wonderful adopted city!

Abbie Stark, Devour Rome

Abbie, our guide and operations manager for Devour Rome
Abbie enjoying a vineyard visit in the Italian countryside.

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Pizza at CasaManco—the mushroom/peperoncino/lemon zest is INCREDIBLE.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Enzo and Lina of course! Lina always wants to teach our guests nonverbal Italian signs!

Enzo and Lina at their market stand in Rome
Think of Lina and Enzo as the adorable Italian grandparents you need in your life.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

A couple of kids calling our tour the “Tasty Train.” Or having a group hang out after drinking multiple bottles of wine in Trastevere.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Always explore the less busy neighborhoods and do your research before deciding where to eat!

Find Abbie online at lavitaroma.com.

Carolyn Mitchell, Devour Madrid

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

It has to be the mushrooms at Mesón del Champiñón as I used to go there as a teenager and it brings back fond memories!

Grilled mushrooms
These mushrooms are the stuff dreams are made of.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Mercado Jamón Ibérico. When they allowed a curious little boy on my tour to have a look at the hams hanging in their otherwise off limits cellar.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

When I had the pleasure of coinciding one morning with the second-generation owner of the Mesón del Champiñón: Don Ángel, an older man with plenty of laugh lines on on face and a charismatic smile. I was introduced to him and within minutes we established his wife was from a town not too far away from my mother’s in the province of León. Immediately we started talking about all the wonders of this beautiful area including its cured meats. When I shared my love of chorizo with Ángel, he promised to bring back “the best chorizo in the world” from his wife’s town, which is made in an artisanal manner and shared only with the town’s inhabitants. He also met the tour guests and generously offered each of them a mini clay pitcher as a souvenir.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Get out into the neighborhoods and explore without your Google Maps or your TripAdvisor. Be guided by your own nose and by local crowds.

Ellie Aldridge, Devour Paris

Ellie, Devour Paris guide
Ellie’s claim to fame: she’s our first Devour Tours guide (other than the operations managers) outside Spain!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

The nests at Maison Aleph. There’s simply nothing else like them in Paris.

Pastry "nests" at Maison Aleph in Paris
Maison Aleph’s pastry nests are a fan favorite on our Paris tours, too!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Go for a walk in Buttes Chaumont. It’s the loveliest park and so many people miss it. You can see across to the Sacré-Cœur from here.

Find Ellie online at @elliejaldridge.

Luke Watson, Devour Barcelona

Luke is one of our Devour Tours guides in Barcelona.
Luke enjoying a glass of Priorat straight from the source in wine country.

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

It would have to be a wine! The Carles Andreu Rosé Cava is a divine berry fruity velvet explosion on the tongue.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Bar del Pla. Every night there is fantastic! I guess one night that stands out is when they were opening and tasting lots of different wines (all while working) and were all tipsy and jovial and sharing all of the wines and desserts.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

I have so many! A particularly fun group was a family who hadn’t seen each other for many a year and were reuniting on the wine tasting tour. We ended up going dancing together after the tour and there was a tangible feeling of love and unforgettable mirth with the reunion, of course all helped along by the wine.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

If you get up early enough and head to Gaudí’s Parc Güell, you’ll arrive before the security gates are set up and the crowds arrive. You have the whole park to enjoy alongside locals walking dogs and enjoy the Mediterranean sunrise which paints the Parc in its beautiful colors. That’s just one of my secrets!

Find Luke online at @holalukewatson.

Nanja Wierda, Devour Madrid

Nanja, Devour Madrid guide
Nanja is a wine expert and artist. Her canvas of choice: bananas!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

I can’t get enough of the white wines at Vinoteca Vides paired with the amazing selection of Spanish cheeses, and also the rabo de toro (bull’s tail) at Angelita!

Wine, cheese, cured meats
Spanish wine and cheese: a match made in foodie heaven.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Drink your way through Spain at Vinoteca Vides which offers wines from all regions, most of them by the glass in an informal atmosphere.

Find Nanja online at @nanterpanter.

Ellis Dixon, Devour Lisbon

One of our favorite Devour Tours guides: Ellis in Lisbon!
Ellis and her daughter, Emma, at Lisbon’s Portugal dos Pequenitos theme park.

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

I’m a purist for the pastel de nata. Sorry, but custard tarts can’t be beat! So creamy, so gooey, so crispy, so…I’ve just decided I have to have one right now.

Portuguese custard tarts
We can’t disagree with Ellis on this one—Portuguese custard tarts are pure heaven! Photo credit: Anastasia Raykova

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

I love them all but I have to say the whole crew at O Gaiteiro. They constantly make fun of the way I pronounce “garrafa” and “mexilhões.” In fact, they won’t let me pay the bill without pronouncing one of them for laughs.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

One of my guests hated to waste the wine from the tasca so ha poured all the leftover red into a to-go cup and had himself a little party en route to stop six. The rest of the group was a bit incredulous until one of the ladies asked if she could have a swig midway to the destination point.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Start with a long walk along the water and finish with a glass of wine with a view.

Find Ellis online at atlaslisboa.com.

Joy Figueroa, Devour Madrid

Joy, a Devour Tours guide in Madrid
Joy certainly lives up to her name—a tour with her is one of the most fun ways to experience Madrid!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

The regalito de rabo de toro at Anciano Rey de los Vinos…like the best version of a Spanish-style egg roll.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

The brothers behind Mercado Jamón Ibérico. For my birthday one year they gave me a chunk of truffled Manchego cheese—the perfect gift.

Vendor at Mercado jamón Ibérico in Madrid
The team at Mercado Jamón Ibérico knows their stuff when it comes to all things ham!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

I’m still amazed by how many awesome people I get to meet and bond with during tours. Let’s say my favorite on-tour memory is the off-tour visit I have coming up in a few months to stay with former guests at their house in Munich!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Don’t miss the Museo de Historia de Madrid—it’s totally free and has the coolest 3D maps of ancient Madrid.

Find Joy online at @joyofmadrid.

Cristina Castellanos Stephens, Devour San Sebastian

Cristina, a tour guide in San Sebastian
Cristina is one of our favorite people to explore San Sebastian with!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Cheesecake! [I love] the caramel taste and creamy texture.

Basque cheesecake
La Viña’s cheesecake is considered Spain’s best.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Raúl, Tarik and all the Mikels at La Viña—such hard workers and they’re always smiling and have a positive attitude!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

I had a gorgeous family and I was so impressed how the kids tried and enjoyed everything on tour!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Confidence gets you the best food in San Sebastian.

Find Cristina online at @crisiccs.

Hannah Bächtold, Devour Barcelona

Hannah, one of our Devour Tours guides in Barcelona
Hannah is a wealth of fascinating food facts—after a tour with her, you’ll never look at some of your favorite dishes the same way again (in a good way!).

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

One of my favorites (it’s too hard to choose only one) are the gambas al ajillo at Bar Ramón on the Sant Antoni Tapas like a Local Tour. For it being a dish that is not typically from Barcelona, it is cooked to perfection. The oiliness with the garlic is amazing and if you bite the crunchy shrimp, you can’t get enough of it.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

My favorite is probably [the team at] Bar la Plata. The smiles Andres and Pepe give you every day, even after working long hours at an always-full bar, are just the most beautiful.

Pepe at Bar La Plata in Barcelona
Our friend Pepe at Bar La Plata is one of the friendliest people in Barcelona.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

When someone bought a bottle of vermouth from one of the stops “just to support them” and gave the bottle to me as a tip after the tour. Such a creative and nice gesture!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Go watch the human towers and correfocs (fire runs) [to see some] crazy Catalan traditions.

Find Hannah online at @cuisinehistory.

Oliver Guardo, Devour Madrid

Oliver, one of our favorite Devour Tours guides
When Oliver isn’t showing guests around Madrid on tour, you’ll usually find him on his bike—he once rode all the way to Berlin from Spain!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

The oxtail cannelloni at Angelita. It’s a great palatable introduction to a cut of meat that can raise eyebrows and it’s paired with a fantastic wine from Madrid.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

I think Cerveriz is the place with my heart. The other day with a small group, the bar was dead and Carlos and María Ángeles brought out photos of when they met and the glory days. They are legends, and on the right day it’s everything I want out of a vendor.

Bar owner Carlos pouring cider
Carlos showing some of our guests how to pour cider like a pro.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Having guests who lived next to a high school friend in Abuja, Nigeria. Also when my parents came on tour and said they were proud of me.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Don’t be afraid of packed bars. Drink sherry wine. Stay out late. Try all the stuff you’ve never heard of.

Find Oliver online at @oliverlucasguardo.

Ferran Pàmies Flack, Devour Barcelona

Ferran, one of our Devour Tours guides in Barcelona
Ferran, who’s half British, is a native English speaker who was born and raised in Barcelona.

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

The crema catalana. Teaching guests that crema catalana came before the French version. Which should never be mentioned.

Crema catalana
Sorry, France—crema catalana came first!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Pepe [from Bar La Plata]. The speed and character he shows while serving these tapas.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Doing a competition of “Titius” with the porrón.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Try out a masia-style Catalan lunch for the best feast and sobremesa available.

Laura Gil de Gomez, Devour San Sebastian

What’s your favorite bite on tour?

The medium rare sirloin pintxo, without a doubt!

Tenderloin steak pintxos
Fair warning: eating just one is impossible.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Aurkene. [She is] so friendly and solves all my guests’ doubts about ham.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Having the honor of entering one of the most prestigious gastronomic societies in San Sebastian!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Bring your sports clothing! The city and the beaches are beautiful but there are also breathtaking trails along the sea.

Find Laura online at @_lauragildegomez.

Meredith Miller, Devour Madrid

Devour Tours guide Meredith
Meredith visited Spain for the first time in 2008 and it was love at first sight!

What’s your favorite stop on tour and what do you love about it?

I love the mollejas and fried boquerones at Casa Toni! Can’t resist them!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

I love the guys at Mercado Jamón Ibérico. Nothing really specific to say about them other than they are always so welcoming and so generous!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Lately I have been enjoying sharing art history at the Prado Museum! It feels really good to share something new and interesting with people.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Try and catch a sunset at Parque Oeste and eat as much jamón as you can get your hands on!

Jessica Garcia, Devour Barcelona

Jessica is a Devour Tours guide in Barcelona
Born and raised in Barcelona, there’s practically nothing Jessica doesn’t know about her hometown!

What’s your favorite stop on tour and what do you love about it?

I love the Santa Caterina Market because we go and see the stalls and bars with a lot of good energy.

Santa Caterina Market, Barcelona
The Santa Caterina Market provides a fascinating glimpse at local life in Barcelona.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Bar La Plata because they always welcome you even on busy days.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Avoid restaurants with picture of food outside.

Claire Matlock, Devour Madrid

Claire, one of our Devour Tours guides in Madrid
Claire has always been a passionate foodie. As a teenager, she followed the 100 mile diet for a year to raise awareness for local, sustainable agriculture—then went on to win a national cooking contest in Canada!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

The champis (mushrooms) at Meson del Champiñón. They’re delicious every time. I’ve been going 3 times a week—sometimes more—since last March, and I’m still not sick of them. I love the atmosphere, open kitchen, and amazing staff there. They’re always so friendly and chatty. I even brought them a Canadian flag to hang on the wall, because I noticed it was missing from their collection.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Casa Toni. They feel like family, as I’m sure is every guide’s sentiment. Once, I knocked over Victor’s entire stand of stemware and felt awful. He waved it off as nothing, poured us both a drink, and we went about cleaning all the broken glass. In general, I love just lingering at the bar after a tour and chatting with Juan, David, or Carlos.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

The time two young Canadians, working and living in Hong Kong, arrived on a tour. Within five minutes we put together that our universities were in the same small town in Canada, and that someone in my platoon was their best drinking buddy. Their enthusiasm on the tour is unrivaled to this day. As a bonus, these two guys were taking selfies with Betty, my 70-year-old guest from Wisconsin, the whole night. The whole group loved their energy, but it was a relief to send them on their way at the end!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Be chatty! Everyone talks here. I think back to my first years in Spain, and how timid and afraid I was to make mistakes in Spanish and offend someone/embarrass myself. It was all in my head. Being chatty—even in broken language—is always the difference between grazing the surface or a meaningful conversation/memory/invitation.

Find Claire online at @myholisticmenu.

Pamela Ferrando, Devour Barcelona

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

That’s a tough one…since I guess that “every single bite” is not an acceptable answer, I’ll go for the spoonful of escalivada (roasted vegetables) on the Gracia tour because it’s served with the best romesco sauce I’ve ever had and it shows that we also eat some veggies here!

Spoonfuls of vegetables
Eating your veggies never tasted so good.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Rafael, from the eponymous bodega. Once, after waiting a long time outside for a group that finally canceled, I passed by the bar to let them know, and Rafa and his wife pampered me with a much needed cup of hot tea. This perfectly summarizes how they are: warm and welcoming.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Every time people are genuinely grateful to me and happy for the experience they’ve just had, or for something in particular that they learned or discovered…that’s the best feeling!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Instead of (or apart from) having a paella, try the local twist on it: fideuà, made with short spaghetti.

Find Pamela online at @pamyf.errando.

David Pope, Devour Seville

David, a Devour Tours guide in Seville
David might not have been to all 3,000 tapas bars in Seville, but he’s working on it!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Puntas de solomillo on the Tapas Like a Local Tour in Triana! It sums up everything I love about Spanish food: it’s super simple—all about taking amazing ingredients, preparing them with love, and letting them speak for themselves.

Iberian pork steaks
All you need is love—and puntas de solomillo. But trust us, they’re basically the same thing.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Maestro Marcelino from the Tapas & Flamenco Tour. I remember taking my mum there when she visited me, and the owner plied her with so much free orange wine to make her feel at home!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Being mistaken for a Spanish person by a guest from Texas!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Sit back and people watch. Don’t be in a rush, part of the fun of being in Seville is soaking up the sevillano pace of life!

Find David online at everydayfoodblog.com.

Arantxa Lamas, Devour Madrid

Arantxa, a guide for Devour Madrid
Arantxa’s culinary expertise isn’t limited to food tours—she’s also a professional chef!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Radiquero cheese at Vides. It’s a pungent goat cheese—lovely!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

Juanjo from the olives stall at the [Antón Martín] market. We are Facebook friends now!

Juanjo at his olive stall at a market in Madrid
Juanjo sells the best olives in Madrid!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

When a lady recognized me on tour a few years after a cooking class with me!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Visit the Maravillas market.

Find Arantxa online at chefarantxalamas.com.

Valentina Procopio, Devour Barcelona

Valentina, a Devour Tours guide in Barcelona
Valentina lives by her grandmother’s motto: “food is health, health is happiness!”

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Croquetas de guisantes y menta (croquettes with peas and mint) which can be found on our Tapas, Taverns and History Tour at Bodega La Palma—just amazing!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

I literally love all the vendors, but if I have to choose—Pepe and Andres at La Plata! They taught me how to drink from el porrón!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

On one of my kids tours, I had two little girls who asked their grandma to adopt me!

Ariana Cárdenas, Devour Madrid

Ariana, a Devour Tours guide in Madrid
When Ariana isn’t showing groups around Madrid on tour, you’ll usually find her onstage: she’s also a theatre actress!

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Regalito de rabo de toro on the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour. I never thought I would like something like that but it stole my heart!

Bull's tail stew tapas
These regalitos de rabo de toro are “presents” indeed.

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

They are all amazing, but Jesús at the [Antón Martín] market is always smiling and enjoys showing us how to use the porrón.

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

When a client cried after the tour because she was touched by the experience, or when clients give me applause at the end of the tour. [I love] their smiles and hugs of appreciation.

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

If you don’t want to spend the whole day in a museum, go during the free hours—but go!

Find Ariana online at @vampary.

Enrique Rossi, Devour Barcelona

What’s your favorite bite on tour and what do you love about it?

Secreto ibérico is something difficult to verbalize…it melts down in your mouth, it’s juicy, savory, fatty—but at the same time delicate and balanced. It’s like a Renaissance painting by Botticelli: it’s so good it feels unreal!

Who’s your favorite tour partner? What’s your favorite memory of them?

I love them all! But if a have to choose one I’d say Rafel from Bodega d’en Rafel. He’s always happy, kind and loves to have us there. It’s amazing to see him talking to guests without saying a word in English, and I can assure you they always understand him!

What’s your favorite on-tour memory?

Drinking a good bottle of Priorat wine in front of the Santa Maria del Mar Basilica on a lovely summer evening with all my guests after a tour, chatting with them as if we were old friends!

The travel tip for your city that you always tell your friends when they come to visit:

Avoid the Ramblas and get lost inside the small alleyways to find local bars and restaurants.

Find Enrique online at @enriquescookingclass.

You’ve met some of the guide virtually—now come say hello in person! Find your perfect foodie experience in one of our seven delicious cities today.

2 Comment

  1. LOIS says
    October 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    It was really cool to get a small insight on all your tour guides. ?

    Reply
    1. Devour Tours says
      October 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Thanks for reading, Lois! We’re glad you enjoyed getting to know our guides.

      Reply

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