LADING

Michelin tour in Basque Country

As I write this, it’s Christmas evening and I just got up from a satisfying, traditional dinner complete with sausages, stuffed cabbage and walnuts and cocoa cake. I know, this post is almost 5 months late, but please, believe me, it’s been a difficult post to write…

During the holiday itself, the eating took most of my time and, although I tried to have a system to keep everything in memory and in my Dropbox folder, lunch after dinner after lunch after dinner at Michelin starred restaurants is not an easy task. Not to mention the Melocoton liquor that ended every one of the 14 nights in the Basque Country. Once I got back, my appetite dropped significantly and nothing seemed to suit my taste. Post-holiday depression kicked in, accompanied by tons of work, then autumn changes, then more work. No way I could subject myself to going through all these photos…

Then, I started writing this post a month or so ago, when browsing through pictures seemed to alleviate a bit the summer-long-gone blues and the approaching subzero temperatures and gray days. However, by then, memory dust has settled comfortably over the pictures, the menus, the tastes. Some dishes, however, can’t help but stand out and are marked by a * in the description below the photos. I am sure a more timely blog post would have been complete with details about atmosphere, service and the likes, maybe some anecdotes about our self conscious demeanor and sometimes ill-timed English jokes. But, then again, as the title clearly suggests, this is all about food.

If you’re thinking of taking such a holiday, I highly recommend. If you ever have to choose between eating at several one star restaurants and eating at one three star restaurant, go all in for the three star. Take the full menu and enjoy. Don’t book two restaurants in one day, give yourself time to enjoy, remember and, of course, digest. Of course, we had a noting system, a full list of evaluation criteria and a personal top. If you want my recommendations, here they are: Martin BerasateguiEtxanobeKokotxa (the short list of the longer list of the top was pretty hard to make, just so you know).

And now, without further ado, here are the pictures, the menus, the links (order dictated by the itinerary). Enjoy and see you on the other side!

Marques de Riscal

Terrine of goat cheese with honey oil and sesame crust // Crystal peppers candied with free range egg yolk* // Glazed veal cheek with apple puree // Warm toast with Camero cheese, apple and honey ice cream*

Zaldiaran

Seafood salad with crab and prawn // Tuna carpaccio with beetroot juice* // Cauliflower cream with almonds and caviar // Caramelized bread pudding with cheese ice cream*

Azurmendi

 Spider crab with parsley emulsion, egg and juice // Scallops with spicy bread, zucchini and chives // Basque style fish with potatoes // Dessert

Zortziko

Daily fish cooked according to the product // Stewed veal tail in red wine // Cinnamon mousse sphere with cherry compote // Cantaloupe gazpacho

Etxanobe

Anchovy lasagna in tomato soup* // Hake with pea juice and black olives // Lamb cooked at low temperature with cloud potato // Rice cake and crispy caprice fennel*

Mirador de Ulia

The tomato // Marinated and smoked sardines, pickled cherries // Tuna belly with smoked herb curd // Apple in cider

Kokotxa

Gazpacho appetizer // Red tuna with watermelon, cherry, egg yolk // Fish of the day with red prawns edible sand // Iberian pork, macadamia nuts cream and red spicy

Martin Berasategui

Green and black olives with beef, caper and mustard (the best veal tartar ever)* // Grilled sirloin over a bed of Swiss chard chlorophyll and cheese bonbon* // Hot and liquid almond and cardamom souffle, with chocolate and crushed ice of coffee // Foamy entree

Alameda

Amuse bouche // Marinated mackerel // Fish of the day // Melting chocolate with passion fruit

Les Rosiers

Fish with squid ink crust, garlic foam and ham powder // Veal with verbena, carror and cardamom puree and charamelized fennel // Egg cooked at low temperature, with grilled chanterelle, onion and peanuts / Moelleux aux chocolat with grilled sweetcorn ice cream

Le Kaiku

Selection of entrees // Cauliflower salad with smoked haddock and fresh herbs // Duck fillet with vegetables // Chocolate mousse with banana and passion fruit in different textures

Le Table des Freres Ibarboure

Japan & Basque Country entree with red tuna // Red mullet with eggplant, sweet pepper and saffron // Chocolate bar with lime, ginger and salted caramel ice cream // Tartine with veal, vegetables gratin with parmesan and chanterelle

Elkano

Tna tartar entree // Lobster cream // Grilled red mullets with garlic sauce // Torrijas caramelizadas con helado de yemas y vainilla de bourbon

Zarate

Entree // Seasoned anchovies with dried tomato, camalata oil, chilli pepper // Fish of the day // Rusian pie cake

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