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Eating Around España

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We’re celebrating Madrid Fusion Manila this week, and we’re very excited about learning more about gypsetting the world through food once more. There are eight chefs who traveled all the way from Spain to share with us in the Philippines how cuisine evolved in their country.

While it’s “Madrid” Fusion, these guest chefs come from different regions all over Spain, and each of them has learned their own world of dishes which adds up to what we know as Spanish cuisine today. Learn about these culinary geniuses and travel the country through their eyes–or mouth–while learning a bit about their hometowns.

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1. MADRID

We cannot exclude the capital as it has its own delicacies worth talking about. Two chefs coming in this week hail from Madrid and have set up restaurants around the city. Mario Sandoval, who you can find in Restaurante Coque along Calle de Francisco Encinas, is the youngest person to earn a Michelin star at the age of 26. His cooking style is traditional yet creative–perfect for those who want comfort with a twist.

On the other hand, Paco Roncero, who was once one of the two appointed chefs of the crowned prince’s wedding in 2004, has earned his place in the pantheon of Spanish cuisine through garnering two Michelin stars and three Repsol suns. His cooking, according to critics, is described as avant-garde–pushing the ever-evolving cuisine to even higher levels. Roncero now takes care of La Terraza del Casino in Madrid, where you can taste some of Spain’s best dishes.

Visits to Madrid are not complete without dining in their restaurants!

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2. BARCELONA

He may have a restaurant in Madrid, but Ramón Freixa is a true-blooded Catalunian, and his heritage translates to his style of creating the best dishes.

Freixa is a well-decorated chef, having earned his first Michelin star in 1998 and going up the ranks throughout the years. Gourmetour granted him the title of Best Chef and Best Spanish Restaurant in 2001 and 2007, respectively. His restaurant in Madrid, aptly named Ramon Freixa Madrid, has earned two Michelin stars since 2009.

Freixa adds Catalunian flavor to the Madrid taste buds, and he thanks his hometown in Igualada, Barcelona. If ever you’re there, go ahead and try Fideuas, a variant of seafood paella that uses noodles instead of rice.

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3. GIPUZKOA

The Basque country is a secret to many of us, but did you know that many affluent “Spanish” families are Basque in ethnicity? Another quality we share with Pais Vasco is that we both love to eat, and chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz and Elena Arzak are putting more flavor into Spanish food for all of us to love.

Aduriz loves to experiment with taste, while Arzak believes that flavors should not be altered too much. However you want your food, expect top quality dishes from these two Basques, who both hail from Gipuzkoa, a region in the Basque Country.

When in the area, visit their respective restaurants, Mugaritz and Azrak, to taste the bountiful and fertile land of Pais Vasco.

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4. EXTREMADURA

Another not-so-known region in Spain is Extremadura, known for exporting some of the best jamon iberico around the world. This is the birthplace of Chef Quique Dacosta, who now resides in Valencia and welcomes everyone to his restaurant, Quique Dacosta Restaurante. He is known in the country for adding artistic expression to his dishes. But travel to his hometown and along the streets of Cáceres, as they are full of top-quality tapas bars–some of which may have influenced Dacosta’s cooking in one way or another.

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5. ALICANTE

Another addition to the Valencian Community is Alicante, known for its beautiful coastline and prime beach destinations during the summer season. In this setting works a Chef Paco Torreblanca, who happens to be the purveyor of patisserie in haute cuisine both in Spain and around the world. He is also one of the very first who experimented with mixing cocoa with other spices from around the world.

Visit his patisserie, Torreblanca Bonbonerias y Pastelerias, in the region if you’re looking for souvenirs to take home. Just make sure to refrigerate them immediately.

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6. LA RIOJA

This place in Spain is chiefly known for its wine industry, but it has a cuisine to boast as well. With the help of Francis Paniego, a native of this province, La Rioja has become a gastronomical destination. Paniego’s hotel and restaurant, Echaurren, is the prime tourist destination because of the chef’s ideas of fusing tradition and modernity in his dishes. This idea has won him a Michelin star, and also received several recognitions, such as La Rioja Culinary Champion and the 2012 Best Chef by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.

Don’t forget to sit in one of their talks from April 24 to 26 in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City! Which chef are you going to take the most notes from? Enjoy a very delicious weekend! Cheers!

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The Gypsetters Net
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

We are The Gypsetters.

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