Categoría "Sala"

Hasta la sala…

Brewing our knowledge: Beer and coastal herbs

- - Sala

This project has its roots from a concern, from an idea and from an eagerness to explore and experiment with a product that, year after year has strengthened in our environment, as much in Mugaritz as an important piece in our daily lives; this product is beer.

In 2013, we began with this idea, but it was several months later, in a workshop held by both Porto-Muinos and Mugaritz in Madrid Fusion, which allowed us to understand how complex it is to elaborate such an authentic product as a craft beer with coastal herbs. Coastal herbs are greens grown on the coast with which we have not only worked with for many years but from which we have benefitted learning in-depth from our friends at Porto-Muinos.

We started to work on the project and we realised that the use of coastal herbs to elaborate a beer permitted us to unite two products which on the one hand, were never paired together before and on the other hand, posed a risk due to the lack of references.

It was during this time, that we became familiar with the elaboration process, the trials, the good and also bad results which helped us discover the taste, the texture and aroma that we wanted our beer to have. Over the period of trials that we carried out here at Mugaritz, we decided to take this project further.

In the Casasola Brewery we met kindred spirits who shared our passion. They opened their doors, allowing us to take our beer to a next level without renouncing the spirit of craft beer. They made us feel at home and provided us with everything we needed to make this dream come true.
It has been an incredible experience to work side by side with Casasola.

What follows is only a small sample of what Mugaritz did at the brewery.

Once the beer was made, we impatiently waited for the second fermentation to finish, to finally taste this anxiously-anticipated beer.

During this time, we chose the name Sustrai means “Roots” in Basque. It is an allusion to our origin and inspiration; to the roots of the oak tree which holds down the ground we work on.

As a result a couple of months later, we obtained our own artisanal beer. There two different types of beer:

sustrai simulacion

Zuria: a wheat-based beer that is fresh, smooth and easy to drink.

Halo-Ale: a beer made with coastal herbs which carries with it a more subtile marine touch. Herbaceous refinements.

Now is the time to share these beers with all of you.

Here you can read this post in Spanish.

Bringing emotions to the table

- - Sala

A table shrouded with a tablecloth and a tilted plate as the only prop. A blank canvas, or better yet, an empty stage which will be fully illuminated only when the show begins. A rather empty space  where wood and glass set the ambience. In this unspoilt arena, everything is yet to happen and our guests will not  be limited to the role of mere spectators. We will make them be part of it. We will get them involved in the construction of an experience which to a large extent, will depend on their willingness to seek it out. “Are you willing to come with us? If you aren’t, then our failure is guaranteed”.

How can a restaurant operate like this? How can the front of house staff transcend the barrier that separates protocol from enjoyment? They have come a long way in the last few years, but the result has made it worth it. A collection of teachings, the result of shared experiences with choreographers and actors has made them feel different and therefore, move and project in a different way. They also underwent psychology training hoping to be able to read and understand diners at a reduced distance.

Panorama_sala_mugaritz

After many hours of practice, our front of house team has learnt that emotions are contagious, and we can influence the way the whole dinning room feels if we push the right buttons. Trust and complicity are required, because in order to make you enjoy our edible stones, first we must convince you to bite into them. Can we make you enjoy eating a macaron of sweet blood? Of course we can! We just need to make you feel safe and willing. The most important role of waiters and sommeliers is not to transport food or drinks, but to build a context where pleasure can be found, to point out the most important details and to tell the stories behind every nuance.

After a few minutes upon your arrival, your anxiety will be soothed with warmth and hospitality. Through body language and a natural speech, our team will charm you and will make you enjoy this quest in search of something memorable.

Perhaps the most surprising thing we’ve found through these innovative dynamics, is that when you try so hard to make someone feel happy, a gleam of true happiness flows through you every time you smile.

Decoding pictograms in the kitchen

- - Cocina, Sala

 

There is no white canvas nor is there a start from scratch. Many ideas are bounced around years before the proposal reaches the surface where it needs to be presented, the name that defines it or the context it will be served in. Many hours of creative work are required to find certainty and in many cases the guts to defend an idea.

During the four months that Mugaritz remains closed, the main kitchen becomes a hive of buzzing minds and hands. A lab for tests and trials. A creative space where new ideas come up and old ones are reshaped. The working process of the more than 10 chefs who work with the senior R&D team members changes drastically. The stiffness of everyday work is broken, we sacrifice perfection in order to gain flexibility.

81 drawings_mugaritz_creativity

 

One of the kitchen walls is covered with 81 drawings. Ideas that chefs need to decode and shape into the 50 new dishes for the new season.These culinary proposals go through 3 menu rehearsals where Andoni and the front of house staff, sample the new ideas. Each rehearsal is a stage for the new dishes to perform and show if they deserve a place in the new menu. These are moments of great tension where ideas are ripped open to see if they are viable, unexpected and creative.

This year we had a renowned guest participating in the rehearsals. Toni Segarra, the acclaimed Spanish publicist who came to visit and share the creative process with our team.

Every year we end up making about 100 new dishes including those that need to be adapted to fulfill nutritional or dietary requirements. This must be done in order to keep making exclusive daily menus. We also see more and more diverse ingredients among the ones we use. A pure reflection of how our prejudices yield in front of the cultural exchange we have been part of in our many travels.

During 2014 we will eat dishes that make sound, appetizers that disappear in your mouth and the most delicious cream ever made. A Long story made short, we are finishing the last details of what we think will be a thrilling season…

 

 

Mugaritz witnesses the txakoli grape harvest

- - Cocina, Sala, Una pizca de...

Fresh and lightly acidic, txakoli has its own particular ritual for both serving and drinking. The distinctive taste of txakoli can be put down to the coastal climate in which these grapes flourish.

The grape harvest begins in autumn and this year we decided to make a trip to see this process firsthand in the winery of Txomin Etxaniz (Getaria). We hoped to discover what makes this local wine so special, and to see how this fruity white wine is made.

The influence of the Atlantic on the fresh, green vines is immediately evident. Two native varieties of grape Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza, grow in this region, the former makes up 95% the harvest and the latter the remaining part.

 

The way of pruning, which ideally takes place in winter, also contributes to the uniqueness of this wine. The resulting high vine ensures a distance between the grapes and the wet ground. The location of the vineyards on the side of the hill facing the sun, a very typical Basque landscape, is another influential factor in the composition of this characteristic wine.

We asked Nico Boise, sommelier from Mugaritz, for his opinion on the virtues of this wine. He states that the combination of traditional techniques and new technology have led to an improvement in the wine making process and the performance of the grape. What makes one txakoli different from another? The hand which makes it, the climate of each territory and the addition of new varieties of grapes.

It has been enjoyed by many generations on these shores and now is becoming increasingly popular beyond them.