– three things I love to do. Come with!
Ever wonder what it’s like to cook for 250 people?
Fellow Sammic BasqueStage scholar Elisha Ben Haim and I found out last week. We collaborated with Chef Roberto Ruiz, head of the Fronton de Tolosa restaurant, for a community event called Olatu Talka- or Rompeolas. Whether in Basque or in Castellano, the name means breakwater, or the place where waves hit land. The event is a celebration of “the waves of cultural energy” that course through the region. Rompeolas will occur every year between now and 2016, the year in which Donostia- San Sebastian will be the Cultural Capital of Europe.
In Tolosa, the celebration took the form of a participatory meal for 250 people, in which local farmers supplied our ingredients, and the Cofradia de Pescadores de Getaria donated over fifty kilos of anchovies, in high season right now. After meeting with community organizers and farmers, we prepared the simple menu seen below, and then set the table for the entire neighborhood.
It was an amazing opportunity to get out of the kitchen and interact with people, and to see how Basques share a table with twenty neighbors (it involves cider, txakoli and unabashed bread-breaking). It was also a logistical challenge, with organizational hurdles and menu dilemmas aplenty, but we managed to put on a delicious lunch which only cost five euros.
Olatu Talka Menu
Salad- local lettuce, spring onion, vinaigrette.
Menestra- vegetable soup of fava beans, potatoes, chard, young garlic and ham broth
Anchoas- confit anchovies in garlic oil
Dessert- yogurt with a sprinkle of sugar
This lunch would not have been possible without the generous participation of the Tolosa city council and the Rompe0las planners. Most importantly, a tremendous thank you to the farmers and fishermen who brought their amazing products to the table so that we could celebrate the local bounty, and the value of eating together.