It is Love with a capital L and Gastronomy with a capital G. Pincho calamar, pincho champinion en salsa, croquetas, pulpo, jamón Iberico, tortilla de patatas and a glass of quality Verdejo or sparkly Txakoli (a young light white wine). The list goes on. The cuisine of the Basque country is rich and unique. The food can be so good that I think I almost shed a tear or two the last time we were there. Which by the way was way too long a go if you ask me (in June, says my calendar).
The ground is fertile for vineyards, the land good for the livestock and the sea offers its best fruits. Why do I like the Basque cuisine so much? Well here’s why.
It’s fun. Vamos a tapear! Meaning let’s go and eat tapas. Or pinchos when up in the North. I really like the culture and the way of popping in one restaurant and having a drink, one or two delicious tapas, enjoying the lively mood of the place plus great company and then heading to the next pincho bar. You get to see and experience many different places and also do an energizing (or something) walk in between. To sum it up, it’s tavern hopping with an exciting twist, with quality food and fun socializing. So, off you go, enjoy and make a night of it!
Pinchos. Small tasty portions, snacks or appetizers, the Basque version on tapas. They can be very varied – there’s probably a thousand different kinds – from a slice of bread covered with hake or chorizo to a small bowl of juicy pulpo á la Gallega or a small glass of fresh gazpacho decorated with flowers. And the choosing is of course the most fun, tempting and tricky part. I guess you could say that it’s far more than a snack, it’s a way of life (without trying to sound all too exaggerative): fun, fast, informal, a gastronomic venture.
Pure quality. The food we tried was made of quality ingredients. It’s fresh, colorful, tasty and in many places very local. All things that I really value on my plate. And, what’s great about it is that…
It is very affordable. The price value relationship is excellent. Two pinchos and a glass of wine for each can be around ten euros. Gotta love it.
Great food is very attainable. Our family members are going on a trip to San Sebastian and they were wondering that is it a bit too much to eat in two three Michelin star restaurants in one day. But when in San Sebastian it is almost difficult not to; the city has more Michelin star restaurants per square kilometer than any other city in the world! One of the most favorable areas to find a concentration of tasty places in San Sebastian is the Casco Viejo.
And, two peculiarities: often it is completely ok to throw napkins, olive stones and toothpicks (used as the spikes in the pinchos) to the floor in the bar. Do as the locals do. And head where the locals head. In the best places the people spread from the inside of the bar onto the streets. And the second curiosity, the local delicacy Percebe is shellfish despite of its name that refers to goose.
Basque cuisine, definitely worth the taste tour! It’s a culinary delight. ¡Que approveche! And if you are heading over there I’m more than happy to give you a tupperware case: you can thank me for these tips in the form of something small, yummy and spiked with a skewer.