Basque cuisine has the reputation of being among the finest in the world—San Sebastian has one of the highest concentrations of Michelin starred restaurants and is a culinary paradise with excellent pintxo bars at every turn. Fortunately, Chef Jefferson Alvarez, of Fraîche restaurant in West Vancouver, loves the food of Spain and the Basque country and has visited and worked for brief periods in many of the restaurants including three starred Arzak and Akelare. He shared his passion with the IW&FS with a delicious meal served with fine Spanish wines at Fraîche, high on the North Shore mountains and overlooking the City of Vancouver and beautiful English Bay.
Our evening started with a glass of 2007 Segura Viudas vintage cava and an impressive selection of pintxos followed by our first course of Bacalao al Pil Pil with a 2009 Martin Codax Burgans Albarino. Next came a flavourful Braised and Grilled Octopus with Saffron Tapioca Crackers and a 2010 Gabo do Xil by Telmo Rodriguez and perfectly cooked Tea infused Quail with Roasted Beets and Blackberry Jus with a mouth-filling 2009 Bodegas Sierra Norte Pasión de Bobal. Our Ash Crusted Bison Striploin with a Wild Leek Puree, Wild Mushrooms and Fiddleheads was accompanied by a perfectly aged 1999 Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja and we ended our evening with a traditional dessert, Tres Leches with Milk Syrup and Cherries paired with Coto de Hayas, a late harvest Garnacha dessert wine.
Our evening was memorable and our thanks go to Chef Jefferson Alvarez and the team at Fraiche, to Cellar Master Jim Esplen for his presentation of the wines and to Photographer and Historian Milena Robertson. Eskerrik asko!