Memoirs from Donostia, Euskal Herria
At the beginning of January, I spent a week in San Sebastián with my boyfriend, and I had one clear goal in mind: to eat as many bowls of Basque fish soup as it would take to figure out the recipe that I want to share in this blog. Below you can see my smile of accomplishment.
Image by Lauri Kinnunen, edited by me
Another reason for my broad smile might have been that the most common weather in the Basque Country is a sky full of clouds and constant rain. For more details on my aversion to sunlight, please refer to my previous post.
Frankly speaking, things didn’t go according to plan. I’m known for having an exceptional sense of smell and taste. This time, however, employing my culinary reverse engineering skills didn’t deliver the expected results. But please don’t stop reading quite yet. Unaffected by the surprising failure, I decided to plough ahead unrelentlessly and apply a rare, unconventional method - friendly inquiry.
Apparently, it had not occurred to me to google using the key words basque, fish soup, and San Sebastian. Instead, I had to kindly ask the waitress to give me a clue on how to find this soup recipe on the internet. She told me to search for “Sopa de pescado a la donostiarra”, which literally means “fish soup the San Sebastián way”. Donostia is San Sebastián’s Basque name, and the ending -tarra is the suffix used to create a demonym in the Basque language, which is used as well in the Spanish language to refer to people from San Sebastián and other Basque cities.
This soup is part of the traditional Basque cuisine, and almost every restaurant has its own version of it. The internet is also full of different versions of the same recipe. I did my research and tried my best. It did not turn out exactly like my favorite restaurant’s soup, but it was nevertheless a very good soup. You can find the recipe here.
Once work had been done, it was time for play (not that eating fish soup and other delicious things wasn’t fun). This is not a travel blog, so I’m not going to go through and share our schedule. But, just to share a fun fact, we decided to get out of the city and explore the coast, with its cliffs and flyschs. We went to see the Flysch Cliffs and the Saint Telmo Chapel. We were lucky enough to spot some rays of sunshine. We were told by some local foks that this only happens every 7.34 years (this fact might not be 100% accurate, I can’t find any good sources). It only lasted for a few seconds, but I was quick enough to capture this phenomenon. See below:
Amazing, isn’t it? This might be one of the very few times I call myself lucky to see the sun.