This is one of my favourite places in the world. A dream, you are in the midst of nature everything is local and natural. I feel such an affinity here as it is just like japan completely seasonal and regional cooked with the utmost mastery and love.
Etxebarri is a tavern/restaurant in Axpe, Spain, halfway between San Sebastian and Bibao.
In japan the art of fire is one we hold so dear and to find someone that with all his hart cultivated his art to such distinction and sophistication from fire is a kind of a miracle experience for me.
The world has cooked with fire since the stone ages but no one has such subtle fine-tuning as Victor Arguinzoniz the Chef and owner. To create a menu from beginning to end all with the element of fire is mind-blowing.
His philosophy and work is one of the most established full rounded concepts and would consider him world ranking master of his art.
Dont be fooled to think this is just good grilling or anything that you normally find this is subtleties and refinement of preciseness cultivated from family tradition and years of close affinity to this particular developed technique. It is very personal to Victor, the land and his life experience.
Victor Arguinzoniz is also an incredible human being. I would like to mention he is one of the kindest and loving chefs. He was so generous to us sharing everything. I find myself only looking up to Victor with highest regards and he taught me to revive my on culinary culture through his refinement of fire. I am blessed to have been to Etxebarri and met Victor and really hope to return.
Here is a little about the restaurant:
Care and instinct under the discipline of fire and primitive cooking techniques, where simplicity and warmth of the grill inspire a natural landscape.
Wistfulness, with an adventure spirit for knowledge; tasting flavours, and rediscovering that space and time are imperceptible.
Knowledge is a collective good, a fountain of youth from which everyone can drink. Restoring local productions, seasonal and traditional, helps us collectively participate in the dance to which we are invited. Considering the daily work and identity, a certain world view away from the rigid dogmas of the common imagination, cultural colonialism, an authentic experience, deep.
The produce is paramount to Etxebarri and reflects the changing seasons throughout the year. Everything is carefully chosen in respect to the type of product and its method of its cultivation. Located in the verdant valley of Atxondo, the landscape surrounding the restaurant is dominated by Mount Anboto, the 1300 metre limestone peak that provides the restaurant with an abundance of local produce. From the holm oak trees we use to make our own charcoal, through to woodland mushrooms, wild berries and seasonal game.