I strolled across the beach and walked the glowing sand past where the sea usually lies, a rare privilege bestowed by the king low tide. Three metre tidal changes are not uncommon here in the Basque Country, and with the king tides the octopus are more accessible. Having learned some tricks from local octopus fisherman, I searched around where the sand meets the rocks and was rewarded under the first rock I checked. (I’d just like to mention that catching these very strong and intelligent creatures requires a fishing licence and the bag limit is 2 per licensed fishermen per day with size restrictions…Regulations are important!)
Basque fishermen have plucked tuna from the sea for centuries, and this is one of their age old recipes. The name comes from the Basque word marmita, referring to the simmering vessel used to create the dish. The special delight in this recipe comes from giving the potatoes time to release their starch, slightly thickening the broth, and timing it to come together before the tuna becomes soggy. Marmitako will fill and warm you on a cold day, but it is equally delicious on a hot summer day, the season when bonito tuna is abundant in the seas.
Good news for those visiting the Basque Country from the UK–from the 29th of March 2015, British Airways will fly twice a day out of London Heathrow Terminal 1 into Bilbao, and word has it that Vueling will also be increasing their London Gatwick flights to Bilbao.
Flying out from Bilbao in the Basque Country, stopover in Istanbul then on to Beirut, Lebanon, I spent a week. Here is a glimpse of the food scene:
Walking through the sauk, light catching smoke rising, into the restaurant. Meat, garlic sauce, mango juice so thick you can use a spoon, vine leaves. A culinary paradise:
For those that have visited Biarritz, a longing to return or dwell there is often the sentiment expressed. One of the most delightful ways to relax, eat and enjoy the sweet atmosphere of Biarritz’s coastal charm is at Miremont (see my other post here about the 1872 tearoom and patisserie).
Etienne Singher, a young confectioner from Saint-Moritz opened the Miremont tearoom and patisserie in Biarritz in 1872. Almost one and a half centuries later, we enjoyed the lunch plat du jour on the second floor of this patisserie-restaurant, looking out at the lighthouse and the surfers launching off 2 metre waves.