Those of you who read our newsletter regularly know a little bit about our partners The Basque Culinary Center and the culinary experts who will join us.
In keeping with the layout of a project to be developed in 5 phases (1. Research 2. Creation of initial gastronomic proposal 3. Preparation of final documentation 4. Development and supervision aboard 5. Analysis and evaluation) and after an extended period of investigation and research, we arrive at phase two: The Initial Gastronomic Proposal.
Without wanting to reveal everything, we can divulge that the proposal calls for a demonstration of the evolution of Basque Cuisine from the era of 16th century and the peak of transatlantic Basque whaling to today. One of our collaborators, Alfonso Manzanares, in the midst of his research into 16th Century culinary practices called us up and told us that he thought creating a full set of menus based out of this period wouldn’t allow them to show so much of what makes Basque Cuisine great. Here is a list of common foodstuffs carried aboard transatlantic ships of the era that Alfonso passed on to us as a form of evidence to back up his argument. We thought it over, and the truth is, he’s right. The proposal we have today does offer us much more and the best argument for this is that it still includes our initial idea within it. This gastronomic proposal will cover six of the seven nights, the seventh being a traditional cider house dinner from our collaborators at Astarbe Sagardotegui, and will of course be offered in conjunction with the menus that the Ocean Endeavour regularly offers on its cruises.
Here is how Alfonso describes his proposal.
“For six of the seven nights aboard we will have the opportunity to enjoy six unique menus created by the BCC, in which the evolution of Basque cuisine from the time of 16th century whale hunters to the modern era will be displayed.
We will commence with a first dinner based on the provisions aboard whaleships and the culinary techniques of the 16th Century. The second night will highlight the foods that entered the culinary panorama as a result of European contact with the Americas. For our third dinner we will elaborate a menu rooted in the older traditions of Basque cuisine and its most quintessential dishes. The fourth will be rooted in the four classic sauces of Basque cuisine (Red, Green, Black, and White). Finally, the last two nights we will honor the New Basque Cuisine movement which revolutionized and brought to brought Basque cuisine to the summit. On the fifth night we will reproduce one of the menus which members of this movement served on February 20th 1978 in Madrid as part of the first exposition of this movement outside of the Basque Country. Lastly, as a farewell to the expedition, our sixth dinner will offer a menu based on some of the most significant creations of Nouveau Basque Cuisine.
So, to recap, these are the themes of the different menus for each night:
- June 15th: 16th Century Basque Whalers
- June 16th: Contact with America
- June 17th: Traditional Cider House Dinner
- June 18th: Basque Cuisine before “New Basque Cuisine”
- June 19th: The Basque Sauces
- June 20th: Menu prepared at the first event of New Basque Cuisine in Madrid, Monday 2/20/1978
- June 21st: Modern Basque Cuisine Gala Dinner
It’s unnecessary to say that we are very pleased with this proposal. What do you think?