Spain

Give us a hog, we’ll fall in love!

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Chef Michael's Travels
IMG_1714

Wouldn’t YOU fall in love if they gave you this little Euskal Txerria heritage hog??

Chef Michael continues to share with us images of this amazing trip in Spain!! Maybe next time, we should jump on the periscope bandwagon!!!  These photos are making us both, so happy and jealous that they are enjoying all of these sights and places!!!  In this round of photos, we share with you some of their adventures from yesterday, and today (given that they are so many hours ahead of us!)
On Monday, the group got to enjoy the Savory Society + Cider House Rules.
A highlight of their time in this town famed for having more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other city in the world, was to enter the
IMG_1659Luis Irízar professional culinary school, where for years the dearly beloved “maestro of the masters” taught many of the superstar chefswhose Michelin stars now make San Sebastian shimmer.
IMG_1663

Chef Michael with Maestro Luis Irizar

Pedro Subijana (Akelare) is perhaps the
most renowned of Luis Irízar’s lauded alumni. Luis’ daughter Visi who runs the school, got to meet our Xplorers for an insider’s glance into the heart of the “Nueva Cocina Vasca” (New Basque Cuisine).  Afterwards, Visi & Luis were their culinary hosts at the private gastronomic society where Luis Irízar is a member of honor. Not only have they gotten an chance to meet such influential figures in Basque cuisine, but they also got an extremely rare invitation inside a traditional gastronomic society (called a txoko in the Basque language and a pillar of Basque social life).
IMG_1750

Latxas Sheep

 They got to spend an afternoon of imaginative home cooking, drinking and lively, multi-lingual conversation.  After that, they got to spend  a lively evening at a traditional Basque house, where patrons enthusiastically line-up with their glasses when the chef yells “txotx” indicating that a stream of effervescent cider is to be released from the barrel. (We are curious about the fate of their shoes… if your shoes are drunk, do you have higher chances of tripping or getting lost???).

After resting up, they got to continue their adventure on Tuesday morning by shadowing a Basque shepherd on an engaging variation of his morning rounds. They got a chance to try and milk the Latxa breed of sheep which produce the region’s smoky, nutty Idiazabal cheese. Make and chill ‘cuajada’ (fresh cheese curd) and taste some of the farmhouse cheese washed down with a bottle of refreshing, txakoli.

Idiazabal Cheese

Idiazabal Cheese

Jim Kane then got to introduce them to his friend Pello, a Basque engineer by training who, after learning that his family’s pig-farming roots date back to at least 1575,
re-dedicated his life to saving & developing a market for the region’s last remaining heritage breed, Euskal Txerria.
Pello guides us up a small mountain back road to his family’s 17th century stone farmstead, set high in the hills above Tolosa with breathtaking views of the valley below. See firsthand his rare Euskal Txerria pigs with their signature long, floppy ears.
They got to enjoy a hosted lunch with the family which included some of the sublime cured ham produced on the farm.
IMG_1771

Pello’s family 17th Century stone farmstead

IMG_1710

Pello himself, greeting and teaching Chef Michael and his group

IMG_1734

Euskal Txerria hogs

 

Chef Michael reporting from Spain

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Chef Michael's Travels

IMG_1634

Color me green with envy!!! Just look at these wonderful photos that Chef Michael Foust just sent us!! Whoa!!!  Just look at those mushrooms!! There isn’t one single thing we don’t love about this photo! From the light, the shadows, the wines in the background and look at those shrooms!!

Perfect! Just Perfect!

Perfect! Just Perfect!

The beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian is known for its perfect crescent La Concha beach, its Belle Epoque historic center and its colorful old quarter, filled with pintxo bars and cafes. During their first day exploring, they got to discover this picturesque town by foot bringing its history alive, diving into its legendary fish market and soaking in its multiple charms, which have captivated everyone from international movie stars to local families for decades.
IMG_1604On Saturday, October 17 our Xplorers got to check out the Mountain Market + Art Kitchen in the picturesque mountain town of Tolosa, famed throughout Basque Country for its variety & quality of local products. There, alubias
(beans) hold a place of honor in the pantheon of fresh produce which overflows the market stalls
each week. Smoky, nutty cheeses such as Idiazabel are also on full display as are flowers, fresh basked breads, nuts and other area specialties.  Only meters away, there is a combination art gallery and test kitchen, where a local chef will help them turn their produce into a gourmet market lunch.
IMG_1618

What do you think? Gallery Room, or Lounge material?

Amongst the many Denomination of Origin (DO) products for which Basque Country is acclaimed, ‘Getariako Txakolina’ or Txakoli, maintains a special status. The crisp, slightly effervescent white wine is the perfect accompaniment for the coast’s abundant variety
of fresh seafood. On this day, they’ll
visit with the enologist of Azurmendi,
recently honored as the world’s
most sustainable restaurant. After a walk and talk in the sloping, hillside family-owned vineyards followed by an informal tasting amidst the vines. They’ll continue from vineyard to Azurmendi’s greenhouse, where our tasting adventure begins. Eneko Atxa one of the youngest chefs ever to receive 3 Michelin stars joins us (subject to his travel schedule) for a conversation on sustainability and the kilometer zero philosophy he espouses
IMG_1610

Do you think this cheese said “Cheese” before the picture?? I know, cheesy.

 

Bon Voyage, Chef Michael!!

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Chef Michael's Travels

Do you remember us telling you that our very own Chef Michael Foust was going to Spain, for the culinary trip of a lifetime??FBpostcard.F-01 In case you don’t remember, Chef Michael Foust teamed up with Jim Kane from Culture Xplorers for a fantastic trip around Spain’s Basque country, focused on the culinary wonders of that wonderful region.  The trip was open to anyone who wanted to go and experience this once-in-a-lifetime trip.  We are happy to say that quite a few folks from Kansas City (including one of our kitchen staff members!!) as well as some guests who heard about it while visiting The Farmhouse, though they live in New York, will be going with Chef Michael to explore all the wonderful food the Costa Brava & Basque Country have to offer.

We wish our dear Chef, and all of his fellow culture Xplorers a safe and wonderful trip!!!

 

Go on a trip to Spain with our very own Chef Michael Foust!

FBpostcard.F-01

Click on the image to enlarge!

 

How would you like to go on a once-in-a-lifetime culinary adventure with our very own, Chef Michael Foust?  Can you picture yourself dining at the #1 restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca which is one of those few restaurants that are booked-solid a year in advance? Would you like to visit with one of the most revered and private gastronomic societies in Spain while you cook and drink with some of their members, including the patriarch of modern Basque cuisine? Are you ready to trek the foothills of the Pyrenees and hunt for wild mushrooms like it’s done in Cataluna?

Then come and join us on Tuesday, July 28rd at 6:00 PM at The Farmhouse over Spanish wine, pintxos, and slides in order to get more information on this phenomenal trip! Reservations for Tuesdays meeting are required, and you will need to contact Jim Kane either via email at Jim@culturexplorers.com, or by calling him at (215) 870-3585

You will be living the most phenomenal Spanish experience from October 16th to the 24th, 2015. There are only 7 spots remaining for this trip so join us to get more info!!

Click the image to enlarge!

 

 

Get those passports ready! Share this with your family & friends! THIS IS the culinary adventure you will NOT want to miss!!!