So for the most part our journey has been one of getting out in to the thick of things in the country and dining with the locals in a very traditional organic way. However, considering that we are doing a gastronomic tour of Spain, it would be rude not to have a sample of what is going on in the culinary world right now.
When I have mentioned the tour to those interested in England, every single person has stated ‘Oh, you just HAVE to go to San Sebastian!’ This Basque beach town seems to be all the rage at the moment amongst Brits everywhere and is where it all appears to be ‘happening’. Our purses didn’t quite stretch to the infamous Michelin Star restaurants, however we were recommended a much less stuffy and more secret A Fuego Negro by one of my dad’s foodie friends!
Although we booked in advance, there was a mix up with the tables so we had to wait for half an hour. However, the staff (very interested in what we were doing and delighted we had chosen their place) were very accommodating and treated us to Basque wine and appetisers of frozen gazpacho on the house! These were presented in the form of ice pops, one a deep purple with flavours of beetroot and the other orange with hints of cumin.
We chose the nine course tasting menu which played around with the senses and traditional Spanish recipes to create wonderful twists on the classics! Here is a breakdown of what our experience involved:
Frozen Cheese: a weird and wonderful texture that I had definitely experienced before but couldn’t quite pin down. Gala hit the nail on the head when she said it tasted like snow! It was as though putting a fluffy snow ball in to your mouth which melted in to a creamy delicious mild cheese.
Huge olives filled with very complimentary Vermouth
Frozen squid which was then fried and served on a bent fork. This has a similar texture to a croqueta with a wafer thin fried crust and the squid ink dying the contents black.
Pickled pork with Mexican mole ice cream. The pork was paper thin and so delicate, yet with a very strong flavour and a melt in the mouth jelly. Served with an ice cream that tasted of Christmas; chocolate, cinnamon… Very festive!
Octopus and spinach salad with fried purple potato, rock salt, olive oil and mustard. One of my favourite courses; beautiful colours and a very interesting and varied combination of textures: crunchy spinach and potato chips with soft octopus!
Creamy garlic rice wrapped in tomato paper with a poached quails egg. So eggs are the only things I just cannot eat. I have always said that even if the Queen served me an egg I would have to refuse it. Gala did the honours and ate mine for me, however the rest of the dish was exciting enough to eat alone…
Cod topped with pepper syrup and cereal. Cod is very popular and sought after in Spain, and this modern twist on a traditional dish worked a treat and the topping gave the beautifully soft fish a crunch and a kick!
Mini burger with Kobe beef. This was absolutely exquisite… So soft that the meat quite literally melted on the tongue. The bread was died with ketchup and the burger was served with banana chips. We agreed that we could definitely eat a regular sized version if this! Simply the best burger I have ever tried.
Liquorice and chocolate ice cream with almonds. This was served in the form of a tiny plant pot. Almost like an upside down cheese cake, with the ‘soil’ layer fine chocolate crumbs and almonds which covered a light and smooth base of moussey chocolate and liquorice ice cream. A divine end to the meal!
All of this was only 35 euros each, which for the experience and intricate preparation was not bad at all!
I would recommend this experience to anyone, foodie or not. It is not the stuffy and snobby atmosphere you may expect, but open to anyone who shows an interest and just wants to taste good food in an innovative way!