Musing with Max

Musing with Max

July 4, 2013

La Espana-parte dos 3/4 - Bilbao - Food and Wine

What can I say about food in Spain? A lot I guess. As far as I am concerned Spaniards eat better than anyone in the world. I suppose that needs some explanation, so here it is---again---in my view. They dine---yes, dine. Dinner starts pretty late, then they savor every single morsel and make dinner and therefore "dining" last and last and last. Which in turn affords dinner conversation, visiting, enjoying each other's company, laughter, storytelling...get my drift? Dining in Spain is a lot more than just eating. And, not to demean anyone else in Europe, they do it better than anybody. The food itself helps quite a bit too; fresh, no preservatives, no hormones, no arsenic...I remember the first time I ordered an egg in Spain, the yolk was a bright vivid orange and the flavor just exploded with every chew, the way food should taste. The Basque region is considered to have some of the best cooking in the world and I must say they didn't disappoint.

Pintxos in Bilbao

which means you go from place to place (bar to bar) and see what their offerings are which for the most part are some really wonderful concoction on  bread, (the two up top are salmon with the most delicious goat cheese that just melted in your mouth and drizzled with olive oil, the other is anchovies and little white fish topped with strips of roasted red peppers again drizzled with that amazing olive oil (the Spanish make the best olive oil, their number one importer is Italy so that tells you something, no?)) then you pick one or two, order a drink, have that, either inside or outside since they provide bar stools and tables on the street and then move on to the next bar and take a pick of their offerings, etc, etc, etc. Tremendous fun, and very good eats....and some interesting company to boot.

jamon, jamon

This delectable establishment was a mere half a block from our hotel. They offered a stack of prepared sandwiches by the front door consisting of yummy yummy Iberico ham on a small baguette, as in the sign above. This was a steal considering the price of these hams, also known as Frank's breakfast every morning.

El Perro Chico - Bilbao

cute isn't he?

One of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, and some say THE best restaurant in the world is in Basque Country. The restaurant is Arzak. It is located in a seaside town located in the Northeast corner of Spain bordering France, a town that a lot of people describe as the prettiest in Basque country. San Sebastian, a mere hour's drive north of Bilbao.

These photos do not do it justice and since we didn't know what day we would visit we did not reserve at Arzak but at least I know exactly where it is, and it's pink!

Going South from Bilbao for, again, about an hour lies wine country, La Rioja the center of which is a town named Haro.

and just outside of it lie the bodegas, or wineries

Bodegas Muga

Bodegas Cuve

Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia

Bodegas Las Rias Altas

where one can have some flights of fancy

and buy so much wine which makes you wonder as you're driving back through breathtaking views

hmmm? how am I going to pack all this stuff? Not a bad problem to have.


  1. That looks amazing--with each post Spain moves higher up on my list of places to travel, and now it's near the top. I am reading a so-so novel about Queen Isabella of Castile, and it's fun to catch a bit of the history. Wars over the Pyrenees, King Fernando of Aragon named King of Siciliy (what?) on his wedding day, all those pesky infidels (Moors)...

    What you say about dining reminds me of my last trip to Italy when we visited friends in the Piedmont and Emilia Romagna region where we saw no other tourists--it really made an impression on me.

  2. Ameilia! No photos of Alicia?

    My mouth is watering reading your description of the food in Basque Country and I had a very nice dinner not too long ago!!!

    We have dutch friends who say the food there is better than France. Thanks for sharing your trip!