Basque Country – San Sebastian Holidays 2013

by grainnep

No recipes this time, just a flavour of our recent holiday. It’s a huge post but I hope you enjoy the photos – I will be back soon with a recipe for delicious Beans and Eggs.

10 days in San Sebastian, part of the Basque country… put it on your bucket list, its a beautiful part of the world. Very Belle Epoque, Paris by the sea and with the most amazing food from delicious Pinxtos to very high end Michelin star restaurants like Arzak and Akelarre….No Michelin visits this time but we did have lots of great food. Highlights included:-
La Cuchara de San Telmo, old town, definitely put on your list. there is always a queue, we went early and were lucky. Eva devoured the scallops wrapped in Iberico, for me the pork belly was just amazing.
A Fuego Negro, These are Pintxos with a twist, a bit too cool for school for my liking but I have to admin the food was great.
La Vina – Old Town, famous for its cheesecake but try the crispy prawns and Fried Guindilla peppers – my favourite peppers and I even lugged a large bag of these home.
Narru – on the sea front at La Concha beach – really great good, classic Basque cuisine but really well done…We loved it.

I was lucky enough to do a walking food tour with the lovely Eli from San Sebastian Food – we sampled the delights of the amazing food market followed by a visit to a Sociedad Gastronomica, known as a Txoco by the locals. These originated as places where the men used to come and meet, cook, spend time together away from their bossy Basque wives… (Eli’s words, not mine!) They evolved into associations where members of different brotherhoods (cobblers, fishermen, metalworkers) would meet. While they were strictly men only, nowadays women are welcome as guests and we sampled the local Txakoli with our food there while hearing some of the history of San Seabastian.

It was festival week (Semana Grande) while we were there, downside, really really busy, upside – an amazing insight to local customs, drumming bands, singers, dancers, large figures parading the streets (Gigantes y Cabezudos) heads made of papier mache, some holding a pigs bladder and chasing after the kids to give them a playful whack with it. Fireworks every night including Firework bulls chasing through the streets, All a bit mad but great fun… Go there if you can but be prepared for rain – it gets a LOT of rain… we think Ireland is bad… San Sebastian doesn’t do too badly in the rain stakes either….

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OO&L Cuchara de SAn Telmo
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