Garena the new Michelin star in the basque gastronomic skies
Bizkai is one of the world’s regions with the highest concentration of theese awards/honours.
Gastronomy is such an important part of Basque culture and tradition that within its borders, within a 60 kilometer radius around Besaide Mountain, there are 24 restaurants that could put a prestigious star ornament on their doors. Garena has just joined the list in 2022. Biscay holds 11 star-owning restaurants.
Garena is an enormous traditional Basque country house on top of a hill, offering a view over the Arratia Valley. The house is surrounded by Hondarribi Zuri variety vineyards, the grape used to produce txakoli. Hidden in the basement of the restaurant lie the bottle racks full of wine and the txakoli cellar.
who has the grip on the stoves. Rejects being compared to master chefs such as Brass and Yamamoto. Despite the Michelín Star he holds, Baz claims “They preserve huge botanic gardens while we are just a few seeds planted in the mountain; worldwide known cooks next to a tiny gran of sand on a beach paradise”.
El chef busca lo primigenio. “The chef is going back where it all began. “We are chasing year zero, and in that chase we encounter zero kilometer products, we don’t even have to try.” Josu admires Eneko Atxa. “We are friends. Same hometown, same country and same culture. The backbone of our gastronomic projects are not the same, through.”
His goal is that those sitting around get a chance to experience the lands sourrounding it. “Not only Biscay and Arratia, however. There are recipes from each and every Basque land. Recipes, stories and tableware; everthing needed in order to know what Basque country houses were like.”
WOOD AND AITZOL ATUTXA
Wood is a main character at Garena’s wonderful terrace.
It isn’t a usual one. Wood is fundamental for the other side of the project: arratian business owner and wood-chopping champion Aitzol Atuxa. “Getting the Michelín award gave us the support our team needed”, he asserts. “Julen’s role has been fundamental to go from the traditional steakhouse to the new project we got to archive in 2020”
Both chef and aizkolari (wood-chopper in Basque) know perfectly well what it takes to start the project. “Both of us the discipline it takes for all of this to work; besides, we both posess a sharp tool for which our hands are essential. But above all we both wanted to turn our past upside down. We want to create new traditions.”
That savoir faire works: within less than two years they have reaped a Star.
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