Two chefs from Valladolid and two from Guipuzcoa connect with their roots and show promise while talking about tapas and miniature cuisine at Gastronomika Popular, the open day at San Sebastian Gastronomika-Euskadi Basque Country.


The Street Food section in Gastronomika is opening with four tapas from Valladolid; tapas that, from Monday onwards, will move on to pay tribute to historic Spanish cooking recipes.


Pintxos, tapas, and miniature gastronomy in all its varieties have provided the theme for the first day of San Sebastian Gastronomika-Euskadi Basque Country 2018 at the Kursaal. “Tapas allow us to bring haute cuisine within everyone’s reach and to play with seasonal produce to a greater extent”, Teo Rodríguez (Trasto, Valladolid) pointed out, one of the speakers from the capital of Castile-Leon who this Sunday have been brightening up the open day at the Congress, Gastronomika Popular. Produce, quality, flavour and presentation have been the guidelines that the open presentations held in the Chamber Room at the Kursaal have revolved around, in a tribute that Gastronomika wished to pay “to a key format in the success and popularity of Spanish cooking”, that is taking centre stage at this year’s -20th- annual congress in San Sebastián.


Before the two restaurateurs from Valladolid cooked and showed promise in miniature cooking, it was the turn of the representatives from Guipuzcoa, making quite clear the two Spanish capitals that miniature cooking comes from: San Sebastián and Valladolid. Felix Manso (Felix Manso Ibarla, Irún) broke the ice by cooking some hake fish-cheeks –“in the traditional way”-in a pil-pil sauce over pork jowls with creamed Alava potato alavesa with an egg cooked at low temperature, Irati mushrooms and homemade foie. He was followed by Xabier Zabaleta (Aratz Erretegia, San Sebastián) with a pintxo that was also with hake cheeks on a bed of crispy onion, vegetable juices with calf lips, creamed asparagus and seaweed and another with sheep’s milk béchamel sauce (“I recommend making it this way”, he explained), mushrooms, Idiazabal cheese, pork dust and truffles. Land, produce and highly-evolved tradition. Fish cheeks, always fish-cheeks. This is Donosti.


The aim of transferring haute cuisine techniques and styles to downsize them to a small format and the use of local produce has been continued and publicized by the speakers from Valladolid. Víctor Marín (Trigo*, Valladolid) and Teo Rodríguez (Trasto, Valladolid) have stressed what is the trinity of a good dish, or of a good tapa in this case: “Produce, flavour and presentation”. The Michelin star prepared a rice consommé sandwich, pieces of ham and cured meat; a cold Iberian pork liver tapa with a Rueda wine on a bed of biscuits with squid ink, and a surf n’ turf dish (river and mountains, in this case) of marinated free-range chicken breast with sautéed crab heads on a bed of quinoa. These are combinations of produce, technique and flavour in miniature; and of the land and proximity as well. “I think – Marín explained- that a tapa must be eaten in just one bite with your hands”. Items of the last one that he had prepared flew off the stage as fast as he could make them.


Rodriguez closed the day by summing up the principles that his colleagues have pointed out as being the basic principles of tapas by preparing three snacks: toasted cornbread with chicken stew and jalapeño mayonnaise; pancetta (“the star product right now in Valladolid”) cut into thin slices on a bed of chickpeas with rocket emulsion, and his own personal version of the Spanish omelette “with onion, always”, a highly visual reconstruction of the classic Spanish dish.


Surf n’ turf, and local produce


The commitment to surf and turf dishes and the use of local produce, “which allows us to change them at short intervals with higher quality”, Rodríguez explained, have been repeated during the day which revealed trends and knowledge. Lines that were also linked to the “dressed up in state-of-the-art clothing” tradition showed that this has continued in the opening of the Street Food section, with an ad hoc offer of dishes.


Only on this Sunday, four tapas from restaurants in Valladolid presided over the entrance to the Kursaal. Gastronomika spreads the culinary gospel and provides encouragement, and miniature gastronomy has deserved this tribute. The pickled chicken with jalapeño emulsion by Teo Rodríguez (Trasto); the pork cheek waffle by Jesús Barbado Heras (Suite 22 Restaurant &Gin-Club); the tapa that won the 11th National Pinchos and Tapas Competition in Valladolid 2015; the Taj-Mahal baby lamb by Alfonso García (Don Bacalao), and the homemade tuna jerky salad by Chisco Alonso (La Garrocha) were their names. The public gathered there asked for tapas and toasted these and what is the most universal format in our gastronomy.


Tomorrow, first day with presentations


Carme Ruscalleda (Sant Pau***, Sant Pol de Mar), Diego Guerrero (DSTaGE**, Madrid), Dani García (Dani García**, Marbella), Elena y Juna Mari Arzak (Arzak***, San Sebastián), Martín Berasategui (Martín Berasategui***, Lasarte), Pablo González (Cabaña Buenavista**, Murcia), Ramón Freixa (Ramon Freixa**, Madrid), Mario, Juan Diego y Rafael Sandoval (Coque**, Madrid), Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch (Disfrutar**, Barcelona), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz**, Renteria), Oliver Peña (Enigma*, Barcelona), Eneko Atxa (Azurmendi***, Larrabetzu) or the “Asian” stars  Paul Pairet (Ultraviolet, Shanghai, eighth best restaurant in Asia) and Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa, Tokyo, sixth best restaurant in Asia). You add up all these stars and you get lost. This is the line-up for the presentations on the first day of San Sebastian Gastronomika.


Furthermore, this Monday, Gastronomika will be presenting its Tribute Award to Juan Mari Arzak, and the Golden Gueridón to Lluis Garcia and Lluis Biosca, as well as programming different activities in various rooms in the congress building. Among others, the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge competition or the final of the D´Tapas COVAP Pasión Ibérica competition 2018 will be held, and the Familia Torres winery, Amélie oysters, CR Cava, Bidfood Iberia, Raventós sparkling wines or the Castile and León Agro-food Seal of Quality will be putting on activities. The Congress Market will also be opening its doors this Monday, with the presence of brands, products, cooking shows and a lot of networking. The first sessions of Cooking with (Kiko Moya) and Private Cooking (Germán Martitegui) will also take place.


An exceptional Street Food


This Sunday, Valladolid has been the star of the show, but from Monday onwards, the entire country will be taking the helm to lead the Street Food section at Gastronomika. By paying tribute to our most popular cuisines and their best-known dishes in their street version as well, it will be possible to enjoy cannelloni with truffle cream by Carles Gaig (Gaig, Barcelona), Milky Way croquettes by Nacho Solana (Solana, Ampuero, Cantabria), the Catedral de Navarra Casa Gerardo Bean stew by Marcos Morán (Casa Gerardo, Prendes, Asturias) or Cod in green sauce by Gorka Txapartegui (Alameda, Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa). This offer will be available on the porches at the Kursaal on thje days that the congress is being held, from 12:00 to 20:00, at a price of 4 Euros (1 pincho and a drink) or 6 Euros (2 pinchos and a drink).