From north to south, from the mountains of Álava to the Ronda mountain range in Málaga, Edorta Lamo (Arrea!) and Benito Gómez (Bardal**) revealed the secrets of their locations to congress-goers at Andorra Taste.
In Campezo, in Álava's mountainous terrain, the Basque chef who stirred up Donosti with his "A Fuego Negro" showcases mountain culture in his neck of the woods and one of its historical features - poaching. “We're the Basque Country's most impoverished and sparsely populated area, where the land is on the mountains and can't be used for crops; that's why our ties to the mountain are so special, because it shored up the family economy and acted as its larder", said Edorta.
A larder built by gatherers and poachers, "although our people didn't see themselves as poachers, and considered themselves mountain workers. And they worked with innate sustainability, because they had a supreme interest in looking after the mountain", added Edorta Lamo. And so the Basque chef, who experienced the shame which this past of poverty engendered in his grandparents, wants to put the record straight at the Arrea! restaurant, with cookery as a tribute "to the ability of these people to forge ahead and to all the knowledge they gleaned concerning the mountain". He does so with a menu featuring all the components of this mountain pantry: wild boar, deer, doves, trout, crab etc.
By way of a southern counterbalance, Benito Gómez told us about the Ronda Mountains and local cooking there, free cuisine in which "each recipe appears to be made by a different chef". With a touch of irreverence and rebelliousness, but aware of the value of his produce, the Catalan now settled in Málaga does not hesitate to combine cultures in his fare, but with the constant features of his plantation: figs, tomatoes and all he needs for his marinades, pickles and cold "gazpacho" soup.
The food served up by Benito, whose cookery contains "no speeches", is based "on immediacy, we make our recipes every day, and that's what we like doing".