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Archive for October 26th, 2020

When it comes to visiting Spain, San Sebastian isn’t a city on many people’s hit list but, did you know that this cosy city, just 1 hour drive from Bilbao, is one of the culinary capitals of the world?

When it comes to visiting Spain, San Sebastian isn’t a city on many people’s hit list but, did you know that this cosy city, just 1 hour drive from Bilbao, is one of the culinary capitals of the world?

Situated in the Basque Country, a region with a rich culinary heritage that today glitters with 23 Michelin-starred eateries, San Sebastian, known as well as Donosti, is an an elegant beautiful medium-size city by the Atlantic sea, with fantastic beaches and surrounded by nature, offering an outstanding gastronomy and a cosy old town, with excellent accommodations perfect for a weekend stay.

When you think about San Sebastian, you think about Gastronomy. Consider a city that counts with most Michelin stars per square metre, consider a city where you can enjoy up to 3 Michelin starred eateries. Ready to indulge in one of them? Then, you’ll want to start with the one with the most history: Arzak.

San Sebastian – Source: Donosti Turismo

History

Built in 1897, 3 Michelin star Arzak Restaurant has always been family-run. In the early days it used to be a wine shop and tavern until Juan Mari Arzak’s parents turned it into a fine eatery whose cook was Paquita Arratibel. Her stews and traditional recipes from the Basque Country, especially Donosti, were highly pleasing.

Arzak Restaurant – Source: arzak.com

In 1966, Juan Mari Arzak took over the family business along with his mother, from whom he learned about Basque food. His interest in learning and his innovative spirit led him to create his own recipes: traditional Basque dishes with a gourmet twist.

At the age of 32, Arzak got its first Michelin star. From mid-70s on, Juan Mari won one award after the other and his restaurant was placed among the best establishments across the country and around the globe.

In 1976, Arzak and a group of chefs created the New Basque Cuisine, a new culinary concept that was aimed to revolutionise the art of cooking. Michelin stars kept reaching his restaurant, with the 2nd one in 1978 and the 3rd in 1989. He was the second to get 3 Michelin stars in Spain and, after 30 years, he still holds them.

Source: arzak.com

A family-run business

Culinary genius runs in Arzak family. In the 90s, Elena Arzak, one of Juan Mari’s daughters, joined the family-run restaurant. She attended top hotel and restaurant management schools in Switzerland and improved her culinary knowledge in great European restaurants.

In May 2001, she was given the Chef de l’Avenir Award by the International Academy of Gastronomy; in 2010, the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy granted her the National Gastronomy Award and, to top it all off, she deserved in 2012 the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award.

Currently, Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena share the kitchen and management of their restaurant. 

Source: arzak.com

The lab

Arzak is a place to eat, to discover, to experience. Arzak is signature cuisine, market cuisine, Basque spirit, creativity, avant-garde and changing all time.

Elena Arzak said once, in one of the interviews published about her, that “Cuisine is shaped by history and environment” and “In the Basque Country, we are surrounded by mountains and the sea, which naturally have influenced our food.”

A great part of Arzak’s success has been its never-ending ability to come up with amazing dishes that are not only extraordinarily original, but also exquisitely plated. In order to perform these extraordinary creations and keep a 3 Michelin-starred eatery level, a special laboratory has been designed above the restaurant, where Elena and Juan Mari Arzak and their team work many hours to greenlight new items every yea, let it be a dish, an appetizer or an ice cream. Traditional dishes and local products are combined with world flavours and textures. The lab has a “flavour workbench” with over thousand products and ingredients used to do research and create new recipes. Their cuisine is all about research and experimenting, creativity and inspiration, flavours and textures, and shared long hours in a lab equipped with cutting-edge technology and a team of cuisine lovers trying to achieve what no-one else has tried before.

Source: arzak.com

Discover gastronomy, come to San Sebastian

San Sebastian is the cradle of gastronomy in Spain and one of its most elegant and cosmopolitan cities. With its sandy beaches facing out into the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian is synonymous with good living. Counting just 170,000 people, the city not only boasts more Michelin stars per resident than any other in the world, but it also has three restaurants with three stars each: Arzak, Martín Berasategui in Lasarte-Oria and Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre.

Source: Turismo de Euskadi

We invite you to discover it: in the Old Town area, famed for its pintxo bars, you will find both a huge selection of the local speciality – pintxos are tapas-like snacks served in typical Basque style, usually on a skewer or toothpick – and a wide variety of wines; walking its three beaches – from Ondarreta up to Zurriola, taking in famous La Concha in between, it is a must to all vistors. And if you have time, plan a tour to one of the wineries and cider houses located in the surrounded areas, enjoy a “txuletón” T-bone steak or a typical cod-fish dish, taste local cider and “txacolí” wine, while you admire the green mountains and valleys of the region.

Would you like to know more? Drop us an e-mail, we will come back with a programme designed to suit your wishes. info@across-spain.es

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