I know, I know I’ve just returned from Lanzarote, started a new job, so what on earth am I doing in Basque Country? Having the time of my life actually, but yes it does seem like everything happens at once in my life. Months and months of waiting, sadness, the no man’s land as I came to think of that period in my life, then suddenly it’s a as if everything blooms at once, and every part is full to the brim. Life’s kind of magical. Basque Country is at the top of Spain and at the bottom of France for anyone who’s not entirely sure. I have been asked this a lot recently, yet I can’t bring myself to call this Spain because the people do not consider themselves to be Spanish. This place is the complete opposite of Lanzarote – green and lush, which also means that, like our green and pleasant land, it rains a lot here too. But nothing could spoil our weekend. The night in a Cider House near San Sebastian was the cherry on the cake for me. I’ve wanted to do this ever since my friend Unai told me about it years ago!
Because it is so young, the cider needs to be poured from far away to get the bubbles in it, and you only have a little amount in your glass at one time. When anyone at your table finishes drinking, they shout “Txotx” (pronounced “choch”, not to be confused with “chochi” as our friend did, which is a rude word). Throughout the night you get brought plates of food. In every cider house, it’s different stuff depending on what they have. There are no chairs, just tables, and there is no choice. We started with a melt-in-your-mouth cod omelet, then had two different types of cod (one with sauce, one with peppers), because we couldn’t decide which we preferred so the waiter said he’d bring us both, succulent steak, followed by cheese with membrillo (quince paste) with walnuts. Everything fresh, locally grown and reared. All the kind of food that I love. This is clearly rustic, country food, yet I think that there’s an elegance to eating like this, one that comes from simplicity and confidence