eat. write. smile.

– three things I love to do. Come with!

First couple days in Pais Vasco

On Monte Urgull looking west, above Isla Santa Clara

I’ve been in the Pais Vasco for two days now, and I’m lucky enough to have this week off to get settled in my new surroundings.

I’m easing back into my Spanish (rusty and sprinkled with Italian). I’m wholeheartedly embracing the laid back approach to life at the moment, because I know once the kitchen gets going, it will be go-go-go until I can figure out how to tread water.

Below is my housemate and fellow BasqueStage recipient Elisha Ben-Haim. He cooked us dinner the last two nights, and he continues to surprise me with his fantastic photo poses.

“Belle Epoque? Or Art Deco?”

Fortunate to have a couple clear, sunny days, Elisha and I have made the most of our luck with two gorgeous strolls through the city. Here are some more shots from Bilbao and San Sebastian:

Pastries in Bilbao. The chocolate drizzled meringue really hit the spot.

The Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Weathered storm doors at the ship yard in the Bahia de La Concha.

A house tiled with vibrant colors, reminiscent of fish scales shimmering just below the water’s surface

The Basque fish monger is proud of his monkfish liver…

…and Basque children aren’t afraid to touch it.
The promenade at the La Concha

Beautifully restored carousel from 1900, also at La Concha
A view through the trees of Monte Urgull back towards Gros, the beach with the surf break

Small kids, Big church.

Churros with rich hot chocolate: the perfect snack to warm up on a cold January evening.

I’m quickly falling in love with the Basque Country, for obvious reasons!

But there is work involved, and I’m also looking forward to that too. Next on the agenda:

A much-anticipated visit to the Sammic factory to get to know the sponsors of this awesome scholarship and learn more about their products. I previously hadn’t heard of Sammic, but I’m now learning they make nearly every large piece of equipment needed in a professional kitchen, from blenders, mixers and meat grinders to immersion circulators and vacuum sealers.

In this video, Marco Bahena (my partner from last year’s Pellegrino Almost Famous cooking competition) demonstrates how a Sammic Vegetable Prep Machine can make a cook’s life a whole lot easier.

It’s probably too late to say All I want for Christmas… 

This upcoming visit to the factory should be enlightening because we will meet the engineers who design tools to help us cook at a higher level. Photos to follow!


Also, we are planning a visit to Biarritz in France to see more of the Basque region. I have a feeling this visit will be especially taxing; there probably won’t be any pastries or lovely scenery involved.

Thanks for reading. Agur from Lasarte…

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One comment on “First couple days in Pais Vasco

  1. Jennifer Hunter
    January 11, 2012

    WOW!! I'm living vicariously through you!! Do they have the Bimby or Thermamix there?? I know they're quite popular in Italy…I so want one, but have no luck finding them in the US yet. So stinkin' excited for you!!

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This entry was posted on January 11, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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