MADRID, Spain - Gwyneth Paltrow, acclaimed chef Mario Batali and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman are embarking on a road trip that boasts slick cars, hearty food and a candid camera monitoring the flashy travelers.
Paltrow, the duo of American food gurus and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols announced their journey, which will be captured in a 13-part TV series, "Spain ... on the road again."
The series, which is designed to give viewers a closer look at Spain's cuisine, wine, culture and nightlife, will air on PBS next fall. Organizers are negotiating with broadcasters in Spain and Latin America.
They four celebs were to set off Wednesday and spend much of the next four months cruising around in a fleet of Mercedes, oblivious to what award-winning producer and fellow adventurer Charles Pinsky has in mind for their itinerary, and sampling the best fare in a country that usually ranks as the world's second most powerful tourist magnet, after France.
In the cars at least, tiny cameras will monitor how they react to the Spanish countryside whizzing by them. Other camera shoots await them elsewhere at eateries, shops and museums.
"It is going to be a road trip as if anybody else was taking a road trip, although we've planned things out. We've got some special things that maybe other tourists might not get a chance to do, as well," Pinsky told a press conference Tuesday in Madrid.
"I don't know what we are going to do, but it is going to be fun," Paltrow added in very good Spanish, a language the 35-year-old actress learned as a student while living with a Spanish family in the central Castille region.
Paltrow, a longtime vegetarian, said she likes rice dishes and seafood and will get by on these in a country that is big on meat.
As far as cuisine in general is concerned, the journey is about roots rather than three-star glitz. "Tradition is more important than novelty," Batali said.
"The most fun is to go and have someone serve something to you that is cooked the same way their grandmother, their great-grandmother, did it," said Bittman. "That's what I love."