|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.|
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...
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...