Categoría "Sinergias"

Pleasure and health

- - Cocina, Sinergias

Gastronomy is a way of life. What and how we eat has a massive impact on our well- being. There are two essential concepts to understand this formula: nutrition and dietetics.

The first, refers to the process of acquiring the necessary nutrients to ensure the best performance of body and mind. However, the term dietetics goes a step further. Etymologically speaking it means “lifestyle”. Originally it did not only focus on the mere nutritional aspects, but rather on the balance of such important aspects as exercise, or even pleasure.  No matter how healthy a meal is, if this does not stimulate our senses or require some kind of interaction, we will in all likelihood become bored or even not enjoy it.

Therefore, one could say eating is not only about nourishment. Luckily, there is something else; a source of pleasure, joy identity, culture and even happiness. That is why the we eat directly influences our well- being, as geneticist Charles Zucker (Columbia University) and neuroscientist Leslie Voshall (Rockefeller University) explained during the symposium Brainy Tongue (see our post about Brainy Tongue here).

Health and pleasure on a dish

A thousand leaves…

We are specially interested in exploring the elements which drive our desires and appetite. And also in understanding what happens in the depths of our stomach. We don’t try to improve quality of life from a purely nutritional angle. Given that different research projects have demonstrated that our digestive system is connected to our brain. Frequently when we experience cravings it is just a signal sent from the stomach to the brain when it notices a lack of certain food groups. When the stomach feels something, it orders and our brain demands that we eat. Our stomach contains more than a hundred thousand neurons which allow us to self- regulate and which work in tandem with our gud flora.

This is why each product needs to be treated in the correct way to simultaneously express its nutritional and gastronomic proprieties, and at the same time to let it appeal and seduce. It is important to not only consider the proteins, carbohydrates and fats of the ingredients, but also the way in which we cook, and subsequently the way we present and offer the dish to the diner.

At the end of the day, caring about the pleasure of our diners is to care about their health in the long term.

Read this post in Spanish here.

Sculpting dreams of iron

- - Sinergias

Mugaritz has always shared a bond with the art world. Not only in our style of cuisine but also by offering to display different art works. A range of artists have collaborated with us exhibiting sculptures which merge and interact with our sorroundings which now boasts two pieces of Corne.

Corne Human is a South African artist who decided to change his life two years ago when his dream became his job. He turned his hand to sculpture on a full time basis drawing inspiration from basque mythology to create a five piece collection: Lauburu, La Diosa MariAkerbeltz, Eguzkilore and the Owl.

His artistic name Coren Nuham tell us something about his story. The connotation of Nehuman is new human and as a lover of chaos Coren has disorganized the letters of his name and the resulting yuxtaposition is his artistic name.

And maybe the destiny in which Corne believes led him to one day install a work of Manu Muniategiandikoetxea (Astrolabio) in our dining room and subsequently find the perfect place for his work.

The sculptor envisaged his piece the Owl ‘Zaindari’ (protector)  standing in the garden looking towards de Peñas de Aia mountain range and this vision was to become a reality. Since then, the sculpture of aproximately 6 metres in height [1] has remained on guard watching over us. He points out that the Owl is aware of everything that happens around it. Given that unlike humans they see equally well during the day as at night. In the sculpture an idiosyncratic symbol can be found made up of 8 lines (the four elements and the four cardinal directions) and the circle which represents the spiritual arena.

Collage web

However, Corne’s visión extended beyond being just the perfect place for his work and also forces space for other artists. This is why the sculpture incorporates within a small galery (1’30m x 2’15m x 53cm) where defying its limitations they can exhibit their own works.

Along with the Owl, on our terrace beneath the ancient oak stands the Akerbeltz. This black goat, an important character in basque mithology, shows us both its faces, a serious and playfull side reflecting the polarity of its personality. This sculpture invites us to interact, to fill a void with your imagination and to uncover all the symbol which it hides, like the sun.

DSC_0511-copia-web

Corne may be another representation of the philosophy of Mugaritz, given that through effort and passion he has made his dream come true. A sentiment echoed in the ceiling sculpted in our kitchen: ‘Lo posible de lo posible se mide por la voluntad del ser humano’ (The possible of the impossible is messured by the will of the human being).

Note: Some of his other works can be seen in Tiriki-Tauki, on the Aldamar street of San Sebastian.

Here you can read this post in Spanish.


[1] As far as Corne can tell this is the biggest iron Owl in the world

Defying intuition. Stones, craftwork and vanguard.

- - Sinergias



Sin-título-1

It has been some years since we started paying special attention to the surfaces on which we plate our food at Mugaritz. Every year we look at new materials with curious eyes, even though we seek excitement in novelty, there are times where surprises may be unearth among treasures from the past.

Stone is rarely used in dishware design. Its very nature makes it difficult to shape it at will. The porosity on its surface is restrictive with many layouts and the arduos work each and every stone requires, means that large or serial productions are out of the question. Working stones to make plates is for either the brave or the mad; but as we well know, the line dividing passion from madness is rather thin. Luckily, some individuals blur this line and make the impossible, possible.

Joseba Lekuona  is a stonemason and an artisan. A master of stone who enjoys defying architectural rules with his creations. Hardness, texture and shape become a means to represent the surrounding landscape as a personalized concept.

The series flysch beltza features black and white striped pebbles. Unique pieces which have been polished by the ocean tides over the course of centuries in the proximities of Mutriku, a small town on the Bay of Bizcay.

Flysch beltza

The Valdorba series use sandstone boulders found scattered along the valleys of Navarra. Only after a careful observation of the environment, Joseba chooses stones of ultra thin grain with ochre and brownish shades. The result is a smooth surface with a warm and inviting texture.

Joseba Lekuona is one of a kind. His model is a hybrid between craftsmanship and innovation which raises his trade to the highest standards of creative processes. A model where one’s conservative intuition is confronted with evidence of impossible deeds becoming possible when pursued with passion.

 

 Here you can read this post in Spanish.

The simplicity of an apple

A great metamorphosis lies behind the white velvet of this apple. The peculiar resemblance of culture and cultivation is expressed through the art of fermentation. The transformation of food through a fermentative process withholds a world of possibilities to modify the aromatic expression and texture potential of food.

In Mugaritz we explore different fermentation techniques, each has a particular ceremony and the results vary greatly from one to another. Perhaps the only element they all share is the main concept behind them. The detachment of the mold from the food which it usually ferments.

Terciopelo de Manzana from Mugaritz on Vimeo.

We use the bacteria Rhizopus oligosporus, which is traditionally used in Indonesia to ferment soy beans and make Tempeh, together with an emblematic ingredient of Basque culture: apples. After a 36 hour process, the mold transforms the whole structure of the apple using its natural sugar content and acidity to develop more complex aromas like those of flowers and tropical fruits. Furthermore, a white, velvety, hairy looking texture spawns from the fermenting apple and continues to grow until the whole process is finished.

The result is a rather strange looking apple which defies some and lures in the more adventurous. This new dish reminds us a lot of our “Edible Stones” because despite the first visual impression, which immediately leaves you taken aback, its inside is a surprisingly easy-to-eat mouthful. The familiarity of its flavors convinces even the most skeptical among us because its secret lies in its simplicity.

As a new dish, our fermented apple was presented in the 2013 edition of San Sebastian Gastronomika congress, however, fermentation has been present in many different civilizations over the course of history. Every one of them has handed down a legacy of culture which should be cultivated and passed along. We hope this new idea is not only a delight for the senses, but also inspiration for whoever might be looking for it.

 

Let the games begin… San Sebastián Gastronomika 2013

Once again we are getting ready to be part of San Sebastián Gastronomika, where not only will we share our latest ideas and experiences, but we will also meet old friends. This time, our participation in the congress will be very diverse: on wednesday 9th, we will open our research and development kitchen to a small group of enthusiasts to show them how we put together our menus. It will be a step by step explanation of how we build an experience from scratch.
Tomorrow we are also going to make a presentation in the main auditorium. We will share the new developments based on the concept of playing with food. We have already talked about how games can be used in the search for pleasure. The adventure of the unknown becomes easier if it is turned into a game. The “Astragal” dish is a stimulating exercise for which the craft of Japanese artists from the Arita region is necessary. These craftsmen are part of a porcelain workshop which will soon be 400 years old. This has been an amazing project which we have worked upon for a long time. From the very start we have been in love with the ability of Arita artists to recreate tradition, technology and a huge dose of creativity.

 

We will end our presentation with the world premiere of a new video produced by La Fura dels Baus for Mugaritz. A wonderful story about moving from the past into the present while preserving traditions and stimulating innovation. Food and games… is there anything better?

The best moments of 2012-2013 season of Mugaritz

A collection of sensations, stories, locations and friends. We want to share shots of the places we have travelled to. From Berlin to Sydney making stops in many cities of the world. A glimpse of Tokyo Taste and Mesamerica, always explosive and surprising gatherings. From London, where we presented our book “A Natural Science of Cooking”, to Madrid and Barcelona where NFS and ONFAN were presented. The participation of Mugaritz BSO at the Berlinale Fim Festival, shots of the tastings for the 2013 menu and as always, creativity, friendship, accomplices and collaborators…
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