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Veggie struggles in the Basque Country

Euskal Irrati Telebista – 3 november, 2008

Yes! I do love the food out here! Basques are supposed to have the best cuisine in Spain, and so far I can’t really disagree. However, I began to look upon it differently after a few experiences I’ve had since last week. My girlfriend is visiting me, and just like me and the Basques, she greatly enjoys the good things in life. All of that, except for the carnivorous part. Yes, my girlfriend is a vegetarian, a rarity around here.

Being vegetarian means asking for trouble we discovered. Even in the culinary capital of the Basque Country, Donostia, we couldn’t find more than one or two veggie pintxos in each bar. So while I happily shove another fantastic creation with ‘bacalao'(cod) or ‘jamon Iberico'(famous cured ham) inside, she saw the barman’s finger pointing at the tortilla de patatas, again..

Good Samaritans as we were, we even taught the barmen that tuna isn’t growing from trees, as they recommended the tuna salad more than once. Yes, I think a lot of them had conversations at home like: ‘Hey honey, I found out what a vegetarian is, and did you know there’s no such thing as an annual tuna harvest!’

Luckily, we found one finger that wasn’t pointing to another bar with 20 hams on the ceiling. Just outside the meat-loving old town, we were given directions to a vegetarian restaurant! And guess what, they nearly convinced me to become one. The food just was excellent, and was even accompanied by ecological txakoli.

Unfortunately though, there’s no chance for me to become a vegetarian just yet.. There are just too many pintxos and Basque dishes I didn’t try yet. We’ll talk after that!