Subject: Basque Cuisine
Hi, John. I think you can speak a bit of spanish, so for you and all the other spanish-language Ziners, I send this web page:

You can find a list of restaurants in the Basque Country, prices, recipes, wines, a bit of everything.

Cooking is very important in the Basque Country. There is a whole culture developed around the kitchen (and the traditional matriarchy has helped a bit). In Guipuzcoa there are still many gastronomical societies where the men meet and cook (and pretty good). Women are not alloved to join them, itīs a way of running away from home and the power of the amatxus (mothers).

Around twenty years ago, when the whole nouvelle cuisine was going on in France, there was a group of young basque cooks that began the nueva cocina vasca. The main ones were Argiņano, Arzak (I donīt know how many, but his restaurant has Michelin stars) and Subijana, and afterwards people like Daniel Garcia, or nowadays Martin Berasategui.

The nueva cocina has moved into many of the traditional restaurants, in a bigger or lesser way.

I didnīt know about those restaurants you say in California, but they sound a lot like our sidrerías (cider houses). You go mainly from February until the beginning of April or May. They are located in the country, although now there are a few in the cities. You can taste this year cider harvest, straight from the cask. You share different dishes, and as dessert there is always the same thing: Idiazabal cheese and nuts. Itīs good fun when you go with a lot of friends. By the way, a sidreria was opened last year in Jaca, and it has one of the best cod omelette I have ever tasted.

I hope Iīll be able to meet you when you come here. I could try to book a nice restaurant, but Iīll have to do it a month or so in advance. Lately itīs being crazy and so difficult to get a table at an interesting place...

Now I think I should get back to work. Covadonga in Bilbao.