Taste of the Trip 2: Pintxo Bars
Getting Down to Business
I’m Chef Kit, and this is the second entry in my culinary travel log. After a rocky start in getting to Spain, I was finally able to immerse myself in the culinary scene of San Sebastian...and it was incredible. (Really incredible!) San Sebastián has a justly deserved reputation as one of the world’s great dining destinations. It’s a city that celebrates the art of eating well in all its many forms, from snacking on fresh oysters and txakoli (a light sparkling white wine) at a seaside cafe or lingering over a decadent, multi-course feast in a Michelin-starred dining room. With all these amazing experiences, one of the highlights for me was definitely the pintxo bars.
The What Bars?
Pintxos are small plates or snacks and pintxo bars feature tapas inspired by the north-central region of Spain known as Basque. They’re everywhere in San Sebastián, showcasing first-rate ingredients from the surrounding coast and countryside combined with the culinary creativity of local chefs. My new friend Eskerne Falcón, owner of the tour company Discover San Sebastian, took me on a private tasting tour to some of the best pintxo bars around.
Small Plates. Huge Flavor.
Almost all the pintxos we ate contained something piquant—that pleasantly pungent or tart taste that makes dishes so appealing. There was also remarkable attention to detail. These chefs paid such close attention to the makeup of each dish. It was joy to experience the mix of subtle and bold tastes, unique flavor combinations, and of course, gorgeous visual flavor cues, since we all eat with our eyes first after all. A couple of my favorite pintxos were salmon on crostini with onion, as well as seared foie gras with a poached egg, blood sausage, and black truffle.
Check back soon for my next travel log “Taste of the Trip 3: Iberico Ham” where I tell you all about the wonderful world of high-end ham that I discovered in Spain.
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