Last February, Filipina chef Reggie Aspiras published a report in her column “Kitchen Rescue” in the Philippine Daily Inquirer sharing that on February 28th, she would be hosting a webinar with chef Paul Ibarra from the Los Fueros Restaurant in Bilbao. Also participating in the virtual chat was Xabier Arruza from Basqvium.
The presence of Basque culture in that country has been intensely strong for a long time, but we Basque can forget the lasting marks, and links, both countries have maintained over the centuries. We’ve brought you some stories that show but a small sample of that lasting bond of common history.
And that’s why we’re so glad to be once again discussing the bridge between the Filipinos and the Basques that is also based on one of those universal languages that serves to unite all cultures and people: food.
We got in touch with Xabier Arruza at Basqvium, both of which are tireless in promoting the best of who we are and sharing it with the world We asked him to tell us how this webinar came about and what was behind it.
He sent us a text explaining the project, and a link to the webinar video.
Basque Gastronomy overview
Xabier Arruza / Basqvium
The goal of Basqvium is to promote interculturality and economic and business activity mainly between the Basque Country and other regions in the world in different areas, such as culture, cuisine, and toursim, aimed mainly at exclusive segments.
Given the inability to hold in-person events and the very limited ability to travel, our plans at Basqvium had to be adapted to the new reality.
Among those initiatives, we’d like to highlight one called the “Basque Gastronomy Asian Tour”, which will allow for holding culinary events as well as a series of 4-Hand dinners with Basque chefs in different cities in the Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain), India, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macao, in some of the most exclusive clubs and hotels.
This project was expected to start last year with the “4 Hands Kitchen” Initiative which was going to be held at The Alkaff Mansion in Singapore, with a series of dinners by our Michelin-starred chef Zuriñe García from the Andra Mari Restaurant; however, due to the health crisis, this had to be canceled.
Because of that and the prolongation of the current situation, at Basqvium, we’ve decided to move this initiative into the virtual realm, until things improve. So, after several months of work, this past February 28th, we began a series of virtual seminars on Basque wines and gastronomy.
The idea is to be able to show how to prepare the food live with some of our best chefs, as well as present wines or other products of Basque origin.
We chose the Philippines to get the started, as there are strong historical roots that join us, and in collaboration with chef and journalist Reggie Aspiras, we’re going to hold two seminars:
Basque Gastronomy overview and evolution of the Pintxo with the participation of these three speakers:
Xabier Arruza, representing Basqvium, will introduce the Basque Country as a world gourmet destination.
Paul Ibarra, chef at the Los Fueros Restaurant in Bilbao, which belongs to the Etxanobe Group run by Fernando Canales, will lead a show on how to prepare pintxos, while also discussing the history of the pintxo and bar food, starting with the original Grillo pinto in Bilbao in the 1920s, to today’s more elaborate recipes.
Aritza Antolinez, representing the Bodega Munetaberri, will discuss Txakoli with us, along with its history through today, helping to introduce it in a market like the Philippines, where it is largely unknown.
The second session is planned for March, and it will be a Master Michelin Class with Chef Ander Unda from the Boroa Restaurant, as an example of the evolution of traditional Basque cuisine to a gastronomy that has avant garde touches which have allowed the Basque Country to position itself as one of the highest levels of gourmet destinations in the world.
The choice of Reggie Aspiras was not coincidental, as the goal of the collaboration is to go beyond these seminars, in order to be able to attract her “Kitchens of the World” to come to the Basque Country when the borders reopen and thus give her a first-hand tour of Basque gastronomy, as well as to organize trips for select groups of Filipino foodies to the Basque Country.
And, after the Philippines, we’re working to replicate this formula with different variations in some of the other Asian countries we mentioned before, as well as other countries in Latin America, such as Mexico or Peru, where we have also received interest in collaborations.
And this all goes to show, as we know, that food is one of the best visiting cards across the world.