I must apologise for the delay in writing about the second part of my trip to the north of Spain; work has been hectic and I have not had time to sit down for more than 5 minutes.
Anyway, on Friday 1 April we went to San Sebastian which as you may know is a wonderful town for food. The people that I was with love Iberian ham so we spent quite a bit of time at one of the local markets where they bought quite a lot to take back to Hong Kong. We had lunch at a classic San Sebastian restaurant, Juanito Kojua, where amongst other things we had some great turbot and sea bream. On the way back to Bilbao we stopped along the coast at Zarautz where we sat and had coffee next to the beach.
On the following day en route to Santander we stopped off at Santoña, famous in Spain for cured anchovies. We are not talking here about overly salty anchovies found on commercial pizzas but a gastronomical delight. We visited an artisanal producer where everything is done by hand. The fresh anchovies are salted and put in brine for a few hours. They are then washed with the guts and heads being removed. Afterwards they are put in large containers with fresh brine to cure for a year. They are then taken out and cleaned by hand with the skin and any bones being removed. Canning is then done with the addition of olive oil. The anchovies that we tasted were absolutely superb.
In Santander we ate at a restaurant called La Posada del Mar. Yet again we had some excellent seafood.
Back in Bilbao our final dinner was at a restaurant called Kate Zaharra. It overlooks the city and has truly magnificent views. The place is like an old rural Basque house and has a very warm feel about it. We started in the wine cellar where we had some fantastic ham and other cured Iberian pork products. We then proceeded to the dining area for a wonderful meal. The hake cheeks were superlative as was the “chuletón” or t-bone steak, a typical Basque dish. We finished up on the covered terrace where we finished off half a bottle of 16-year old Lagavulin malt whisky (brought to the restaurant by my clients!), a fitting end to a great 3 days.