I have just returned from a trip to Vitoria-Gasteiz where our Iberian Ham School was invited by Iñaki Gutiérrez, head chef at the catering school, to do a carving and tasting course in English to the students at the Hotel and Catering School in Gamarra (Escuela de Hostelería de Gamarra) as part of their 25 Anniversary celebrations.
I was also lucky to be asked to do a 12 hour course for Vitoria Town Hall (Ayuntamiento de Vitoria) over 3 days which meant I was able to take more advantage of my time there.
On this course 15 students where able to learn a little more about the Iberian Pig, its rearing, its freerange life in the countryside (dehesa), when they are fed on acorns and what they are fed on during the rest of the year, the different parts of the Iberian Ham and how best to carve it to make the most of this most amazing gastronomic delight.
explaining the cuts of the ham at the catering school
I would like to thank the management and teaching team for their warm welcome, making me feel at home right from my arrival, Iñaki for including my contribution in the celebrations and of course the students whose interest and participation made it ever more enjoyable. They too told be that they enjoyed the course and especially the Iberian Ham tasting!
practice makes perfect!
It was a pleasure to work in such an atmosphere and I felt even more priviliged when I was invited to join the team in a couple of lunches provided by reknowned chefs. The first day with chef José Rojano, recently awarded 3 suns by repsol guide (video in Spanish), a sublime mango gaspacho with apple, trout roe and red pepper ice-cream to start with was just one of the 8 dishes served and on day 2 with Xabier Gutiérrez (Spanish blog) and an amazing lunch ( see video from The Catering School).
Cenizas de Volcan dish
Not very used to being spoilt with so much attention I was made to feel part of the team immediately and Iñaki Gutiérrez couldn’t have helped me more despite everything else he had going on organising such an event.
Last but certainly not least I must mention the place I was invited to stay with Ángeles y Álvaro, making me feel right at home in their beautifully restored Casa Rural AgroturismoArkaia a superb example of accesible and sustainable accomodation just 3 km out of the city. Like us and one of the reasons that we have connected with both Ángeles and Álvaro at AgroturismoArkia and Iñaki at Casa Tila is their sensibility towards what we all offer at our respective homes to our guests. A huge thank you to you all for giving me the oportunity to talk about one of my passions to a completely new set of people, for opening your home to me, for treating me as part of the family. It has been a wonderful experience and I am afraid I threaten to be back with the family in tow! And for anyone reading this, I wholly reccomend both Casa Tila in Clavijo, La Rioja and AgroturismoArkaia just 3km outside Vitoria
Sadly the time came to say “agur” (goodbye in Euskadi) always with the thought of returning either for work or for pleasure. It has been a marvelous 3 days that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.