And boy was it something of a revelation! When we visited Gipuzkoa in the Basque Country (in Spain), I had lots of different expectations – that the people would be friendly (this is a popular and rather well known fact), that the language would be dramatically different from Spanish, that the weather would be great… etc however the one thing that I did not expect was the Basque love of food!
You wouldn’t tell to look at the people how much they love food – they’re all so slim and they keep pretty active (which in retrospect probably explains the slimness) but when I say they love food, I mean they eat lots of it for hours at a time. Dinner time is not like I’m used to where it pretty much involves shovelling food down my gob as quickly as I can… Oh no, in the Basque country, food is accompanied by wine, laughter, good company and lots of conversation and dinner is more of an event than a necessity. It carries on till late at night and involves everyone in the vicinity (even the kids)!
One of the best parts of our trip to Gipuzkoa was that we got to stay the night in one of the locals’ house (which he runs as a hotel/bed and breakfast) and it’s like airbnb but with amazing meals! The place was called Hotel Higeralde and it has some of the best views across the land (but more on that in a bit!). For now, let’s jump right into into dinner!
First off though, we checked out the home of our guest (i.e. our hotel)… It was such a lovely rural Basque home filled with rustic furniture and throwback games…
Lloyd was giving off his best “blue steel”!
I arrived at the dining table in awe of the spread that awaited us!!!
Come in for a closer look!
There were soups, breads, sauces, dips, fish, stews, salads and this was just for starters!
The owner milled away in the kitchen while we ate, drank and recapped our day and experiences thus far in the Basque country.
Milou went straight in for the wine! (There’s no messing with this girl and her wine…Hehehe! Just kidding but still, she looks hell bent on getting that wine!)
Lloyd looked ravenously at the hot shots that had just been delivered to the table!
The main course cooked away in the oven as we carried on eating (and eating and eating…). More food just seemed to magically appear out of nowhere!
The main course comprised of some of the tastiest and most delicately cooked pieces of pork I have had in a very long time – by this point though I was starting to get really full (a phenomenon I refuse to believe in)…
Dessert involved a triple chocolate layer (which I chose to have with tea while still having wine… why? No clue. Then again, being British means I don’t have to make excuses for wanting tea…)
Dinner carried on from around 8.30pm till about 1.30am! It was such a pleasantly surprising end to the day exploring Gipuzkoa…
The next morning, we got up bright and early to get a look around. Turns out the view from the hotel is pretty immense (plus that’s the view of France across the water). This area (Hondarribia) is right on the border of the French and Spanish Basque countries.
Our host was a truly earthy guy, he farms, cooks and is something of an artist…
How great is this view though?!
We made our way to the kitchen for a quick breakfast….
Decided to sit inside for breakfast and instantly regretted it when I saw this couple outside enjoying what should have been my breakfast table! This is juvenile of me I know but suddenly, I wanted that table outside (despite the fact that I’d declined it after multiple offers)….
We finished off breakfast with some dessert (I know, right! Dessert with breakfast? – I love Gipuzkoa!)
Before heading out to explore the rest of Hondarribia (more on that to follow soon…)