Kiss my Kiss

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A brief history of a social prototype that uses candies to work on the kiss


Kiss my Kiss from Mugaritz on Vimeo.

These are the indisputable facts which is accounted for in the video we presented: approximately two hundred people from all walks of gender, age, class and ideology met on July 16, 2015 at Móstoles’ May 2 Art Center (CA2M) to kiss each other while eating sweets.

What happened there could be taken as one of the countless events (lipdubs, flash mobs, hangouts, happenings, etc.), also called “the society of the show” that mark days and nights. They are events held for the greater glory of a facile and mindless hedonism, contributing nothing to those who experience it except for a false exhibitionism that replicates as an endless loop in social networks: a meager ” I was there”.

Kiss my kiss pursued to break that narcissistic and self-satisfied logic, that absurd celebration of oneself, by putting into play the kiss. The kiss makes us come out of ourselves and become one with the other, unapologetically proclaiming something that goes against common sense.  Among other things, it violates the fundamentals of desire: “the kiss for those who make it work”. An anti-climactic message, anaphrodisiac in appearance, that led to its logical conclusion through achieving to melt effort and pleasure, work and evasion.

The purpose of Kiss my Kiss was to make the kiss more difficult in order to improve it. This abandons the culturally predictable and weary path of the happy ending kiss with which Hollywood has managed to imprint in our cerebral cortex. It mobilised for itself different resources including human, technical, poetry, music, food, libidinal, artistic, etc…

If we rewind through the history of Kiss my Kiss, we could see a couple of chefs from Mugaritz’ creative team, a poet and sociologist (I am aware that the statement anticipates a joke, probably a bad one), gathered around a kitchen counter, surrounded by notes, trinkets, laptops and empty coffee cups. The four were joined together by an enthusiasm that is between childish and deliciously idiotic for the power and promise of sweets. Several Mugaritz team members would later join the group in order to solve the logistics of a dream: how to kiss with your mouth full.

In other words: how to make the kiss, the most disruptive, interesting, pleasant and reflective experience. Dimensions that should not have to neutralize one over the other – “intrusion” between mouths and between tongues. Candies whose job was to speculate with flavours, shapes, colours, smells and textures, so that the kiss provokes an outburst of feelings and thoughts, pleasures and displeasures, and disagreements.

This is the backstage, the hidden part of what happened that afternoon as part of the Picnic Sessions organized by the CA2M. Like any backstage, ours was also a space, inhospitable and secretive, where we can assure that our work effortlessly intermingled pleasure and pleasure of work. The video subtly shows, like a backdrop that looks more like a woven network to catch the subconscious, the plot of concepts and ways that support what happened there. The substrate that allowed those expressions of joy, puzzlement and communion to surface in the first place was thanks to an audience that honoured us, something we wanted to show in this video. Enjoy it responsibly.

Iñaki Martinez de Albeniz.

PhD in Socilogy by UPV.

Eating with your hands

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The custom is a cultural issue

Every culture imposes their own customs; unwritten norms that we follow to adapt to society. In ours for example, the use of cutlery still prevails as a tool to eat. We acquaint ourselves to use them in order to poke, carve, pick up, scrape, slurp… Over time, we built a whole order and a correspondence according to the characteristics of what we consume. In other boundaries, they are disregarded and replaced by solely multi-functional toothpicks. In some countries even, we eat only with our hands.

Hands are the first tools we use to give shape to the world that surrounds us. With hands, we are able to give form to nature and begin a process of technological innovation; creating utensils with which, among other things, we will cook with. Using them is thus a natural regression to our most primitive state and about finding ourselves; without any gimmicks.

Eating with hands is also about sharing. There exists a complicity between the people we sit with at a table and those who participate an experience with us. Using our hands expresses confidence between diners. Eating this way is what is usually done when eating in the street. In popular meals, we free ourselves from the use of cutlery and we have fun eating tacos, hot dogs, pintxos or sandwiches only with our hands. In several cultures as well, they are more than a mere social significance. For example, Hindus believe they enter into a communion with nature, a fusion that stems through their touch of food.

Lemon filled with oyster with your hands

Lemon oyster

With the eyes

The first sense that helps us perceive the world is sight. For this reason, the first thing that attracts us to a dish is what first comes to the eye: its colours, its geometric disposition, its visual textures…Sight helps us value food before trying it; it acts as a filter. By eliminating cutlery, we let another sense, touch, participate in the process before using our mouth. Touching food is a way to perceive textures, creating expectation before eating it; feeling the crunchiness break between your fingers, the juiciness of a recently baked bread, the turgidity of a ripe grape or the delicateness of a croquette. Pleasure is heightened when we add new sensorial perspectives the moment we taste.

In 1930, Marinetti was already fighting the conventional use of cutlery. In his manifest of futuristic cuisine, the Italian innovator advocated for the abolition of the knife and fork in favour of a “prelabial tactile pleasure”.

Chilled crab threads in emulsion with your hands

Chilled crab threads

Creativity and touch

At Mugaritz, this season is eaten with the hands. Dishes such as Chilled crab threads and Lemon Oyster invite us to feel new sensations and step out of our comfort zone.

With all these reflexions in mind, this season we decided that in Mugaritz eating with the hands answers the challenge we propose: making the greatest possible number of dishes without the need of cutlery. The creative work meant that we had to change the perspective we were working with originally. To understand all possible forms of eating with our hands, we had to deepen ourselves in different textures and how it would feel to touch them. How do egg yolks feel to the touch when one strokes a smooth surface compared to one that is rough? How are temperatures perceived on the hand? How many ways can we serve the same product so that it may be grabbed by our fingers? All these questions arose and we tried to answer them through the creation of our dishes. In the end, we were inspired by being able to provide the diner a possibility to enjoy this philosophy up to even licking their own fingers.

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

The cheese table: the fermented and the rotten

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Culture is cultivation, but it is not an isolated act; it is, by definition, part of a cyclical ongoing process, passed from generation to generation.

Sandor Ellix Katz ,“ The art of fermentation”

Penicilium-roquefortis-reduccido-en

The willingness to cultivate is to preserve life; but there is no life without death. This is a large cycle, a cycle in which extremes converge.

In this limitation, the king of mushrooms is present; invisible, intangible, and omni-present; decomposing and transforming the substance that feeds life.

Mushrooms and human beings are very alike [1]. They have lived together since the beginning of time. Men have given mushrooms the fruit of their labour: milk, fruit juice, refined flour…perpetuating and converting them into cheesemakers, wine-producers, bakers…into micro-cultivators.

Mushrooms have given men fermented ingredients, which have been passed on from generation to generation. They have maintaining taught and learned flavours and aromas; ultimately converting them into transmitters of culture.

Life and death, beauty and decay, the fermented and the rotten…have always been part of one cycle where extremes converge and blend with each other in a limitation lived by mushrooms.

Penicilium-candidum-en

The installation of the ‘Cheese table’ of Mugaritz will be part of URBANZIENTZIA – CIENCIA URBANA, a science day of the OLATU TALKA event organised by Teknahi. This initiative, which will be part of other activities in DONOSTIA- SAN SEBASTIÁN 2016, will take place on May 21st in Iztueta, between Gros and Egia.

 

logos-todos(1)-(4)


[1] Maurizio Montalti, “Continous Bodies, Cycles of decomposition triggering a simbiotic partnership between humans and fungi”

THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2015

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Mugaritz opened the season on the 15th of April 2015, after devoting 4 months to research and creativity.  We began a year which promised new experiences and teachings; trips, stories and people who would make it an unforgettable year.

On the 14th of April, our 10 first guests enjoyed our culinary offering thanks to You open the doors of Mugaritz, they were followed by more than 14000 diners from 80 different countries.

We have tried to match the efforts of who have travelled from the 4 corners of the world to experience Mugaritz by bringing our cuisine, philosophy and knowledge to Europe, North and South America and Asia. Mugaritz, led by Andoni Luis Aduriz, has travelled to: Switzerland, USA, EUA, Colombia, Philippines, Italy, Great Britain, Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina and Malaysia in the space of 11 months.IMG_0812

We have staged lunches and dinners in Mallorca, Miami (South Beach Food and Wine) Taiwan (Thomas Chien) and the restaurant Zaldiaran, among other locations. At one point Andoni even swapped kitchens taking the helm at COI (San Francisco) as part of the Gelinaz event.

In addition to the kitchens we have visited we have taken part in a diverse range of congresses (Madrid Fusión, San Sebastian Gastronomika, Madrid Fusion Manila, etc.) and talks in events (Advanced Computer Entertainment, El futuro por venir, etc.) and universities such as Harvard, for example.

This year Mugaritz has not only phisically approached a wide audience but also in the form of a documentary. On the 19th of September we released OFF-ROAD on the San Sebastian Festival, a philosophical and ethological documentary about Mugaritz where La Fura dels Baus distills the ideas behind Mugaritz.

Finally, we should not forget all those who have joined us on our journey: our complices, who have made Mugaritz what it is.

The curtain of Mugaritz comes down tomorrow until the 13th of April, but we will continue working behind the scene.

See you soon!

Here you can read this post in Spanish.

The story behind our cheeses

- - Cocina
Photo: José Luis López de Zubiría/ Mugaritz

Photo: José Luis López de Zubiría/ Mugaritz

Cheese has always been present in Mugaritz. At the very beginning, in 1999, when there were different menus we used to offer a cheese platter with garnish. At this moment, it was the guest who could choose whether he wanted or not cheese to be part of his gastronomic experience.

However, the role of cheese continued to evolve and gain protagonism over the course of time. This year it has featured prominently in our tasting menu in the form of The Cheese dish (above).

We are now able to offer the best artesan cheese thanks to the hard work of a series of excepcional suppliers. They advise us on the optimun period of maturity of their product so we can offer it to our guests.

We began the season with the cheeses of José Manuel from Borda Marengo placed in Belagua, in the Roncal Valley, the famous cheese producing region in Navarra. Then we had Anne’s unpasteurized goat’s milk cheese from Eskanda farmhouse. We also sampled Ramon Lizeaga’s cheese. The last cheeses of the season came from Iñaki (Uhartia)  who couldn’t single out just one cheese and therefore suggested three different types of 3, 6 and 12 months maturity. This week we have visited Jon and Martina in the Aralar mountain range (we also did it in 2013, here you can read about it). They have waited 3 years to prepare the perfect cheese for Mugaritz.

In our presentation of the cheese we try to reflect the uniqueness of the cheese maker. It is served with a piece of bread and a cloth containing a text which introduces you to each shepherd. This is the same cloth which is used by cheese makers during the ellaboration process.

They represent the people who make the Mugaritz experience possible, the hands in which our cuisine is based.

Here you can read this post in Spanish.

Cooking with common sense, above any rule: Crema Catalana

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The sea and the mountain, an ancient love between a shepherd and a mermaid, the trompe l’oeil and the abstract, the contradiction and the boundary…various dualities that converge in this Crema Catalana. A dish which has been converted to a model of the multiple stories a recipe may hold and which is witness to many occasions where eating guides us in our journey through memory.

An extravagant combination per se, that is contradictory with culinary rationalism, stemming from being a fruit of scarcity in the kitchen as well as from agitated ideasl; perhaps hindered by the strength of the Tramontana, which some have said to have the power to drive us to brilliant madness or perhaps, clairvoyance.

In this Crema Catalana, an originally marginalised product is united, where coincidence and scarcity has converted it to an article of luxury, while another rather luxurious product has become marginalised due to culture and abundance.

The sea and the mountain, the contradiction and the limit, the dream and reality…worlds that hold each other by the hand thanks to an eloquent Mexican who interpreted Catalan cuisine in this way, in a land where Euskera is spoken.

Here  you can read this post in Spanish.

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.

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.

Cooked nougat with savory peppercorn praline.

- - Cocina

turrón cocido (pie de foto en)

For centuries, Asia has been home to sophisticated vegetarian preparations. The culture of seeds (specially soya beans) has permeated every layer of oriental society, and more recently, it has become an appealing trend in western society. Although we have already talked about culturing foods in previous posts, our latest creation for the 2014 menu deserves a special mention.

HAZELNUT TEMPEH

The “Cooked nougat with savory peppercorn praline” is the result of a series of intuitive connections. The starting point was Indonesian Tempeh which has quickly gained in popularity in vegetarian diets because of its high protein content.

We thought that separating the mould Rhizopus oligosporus from the soya beans where it is normally used, was the first step in the process of creating something unique. We inoculate boiled hazelnuts with the mould culture, and the resulting growth of mycelium (a root-like system of fungus) is what binds the hazelnuts together to form big cakes which look like nougat.

A dish which initially promises both hardness and sweetness, suddenly turns into a creamy mouthful where the only disruptive sensation is given by aromatic peppercorns and some salt flakes… once again, less is more.

Here you can read this post in Spanish.