This article was translated by John R. Bopp
The Financial Times Magazine‘s Food & Drink section has just published an article by Wendell Steavenson in which he recounts his culinary experience at the Elkano Restaurant in Getaria.
Honestly, it’s quite hard to add or complement anything to what has already been shared in this overview of what is at the heart of our gastronomy.
We are a country in which the vast majority of people have always been quite humble, poor some would say, and where people have had to fight, hard, to survive. Our land is not, in general, rich for planting, and our sea, the Bay of Biscay, is reluctant to hand over her riches. Farmers and fishermen have had to learn how to cook with basic simple products over the centuries.
Simple yes, but high quality. Food is barely transformed, flavors are respected. Restaurant food is the same as home cooking, on every corner in every town. That’s what marks the seal of the cuisine of this country.
As the children of a poor land, the Basques had to emigrate to find a future. And when they weren’t poor anymore, and became a people where industry predominated, Francoism not only forced tens of thousands of people to emigrate to escape the repression, it also held back the progress of Basque society for decades.
Those immigrants took with them their way of thinking about cooking. They adapted to wherever their new home was, be it the Argentina Pampa or the ranchlands of the American Great Basin. They took their “way of doing things” with them around the world.
That’s why Basque cuisine is so respected throughout the New World, from North to South. That’s why more and more visitors are coming to our land to enjoy not only the great restaurants, but also the regular ones, which we Basques get to enjoy every day.
Even today, the great Basque restaurants, the culinary leaders who accumulate world-class prizes and honors, are not abandoning their roots, or rejecting their heritage.
That’s why we’re so glad we live in The Culinary Nation. It’s hard to find another “small” (in terms of population) culture that has the reach and influence (and recognition) as that of the Basques in the field of gastronomy.
Wendell Steavenson has taken note of the soul of our gastronomic culture and has reflected it in an extraordinary way in his article.
(Note: to read The Financial Times, it’s necessary to be registered)
Financial Times – 10/5/2019 – USA
This is probably the best fish restaurant in the world
It was a dark and stormy night. Drenching gusts blurred the car windscreen; the wipers were going triple time. This kind of spring squall is not unusual in the rainy climate that gives the Basque coast of Spain its colour scheme: bright green hills, battleship-grey skies.