Pintxos Workshop and Wine Tasting in Pamplona, Spain
Pintxos are a staple snack in areas like Basque Country and Navarre. What makes these Basque-style tapas different from their other counterparts in the greater Spanish regions is that the mixture of ingredients are skewered by a pintxo, or a spike, usually on a fresh piece of bread. These individual snacks are served in bars and even restaurants and is eaten by the locals with a glass of wine and a long conversation.
But what is better than a set of pintxos eaten in a local bar is a set of pintxos that are freshly made by oneself. There is no better way to appreciate pintxos than by learning how to prepare it apart from eating it fresh—and this is exactly what I did in our Pintxos workshop and wine tasting.
We had our scheduled workshop in Pamplona, the capital city of the Spanish Chartered Community of Navarre. From our hotel in Logrono, we had a one-hour ride to the city via a private car. When we got there, we proceeded to Pamplona Food in Calle del Carmen for our workshop.
Before we started, our guide Bea Etayo from Pamplona Food introduced us to Chef Garikoitz and Chef Alex, who are both from the nearby Baserriberri Restaurante. They were our culinary instructors for the day. The restaurant they are from is known for being one of the best pintxos bars in Pamplona, and I felt honored learning the craft of pintxos making directly from them!
The chefs taught us how to create various types of pintxos from locally produced ingredients. Some were easy to make, and some were more complex. Each creation was a challenge to make, and although not everything I made came out as perfectly as what the chefs made, I was proud to be able to make my own pintxos.
Additionally, we paired the most appropriate wine for each of the pintxos we made. It was a beautiful day of pintxos making and wine tasting. Here are the pintxos that we prepared and sampled:
Hamburguesa de perdiz, pico de gallo y almendra negra. In English, this translates to Pickled partridge burger, pico de gallo (or salsa fresca), and black almonds. This pintxos had an amazingly piquant blend of flavors from the pickled partridge (perdiz en escabeche), and the onions, tomato, lime, and coriander from the salsa fresca. The watercress and toasted almonds gave texture to the entire snack.
Falso risotto de marmitako de pulpo. This pintxo, which translates to “fake risotto of octopus marmitako”, contains the wonderful flavors of the sea. The ingredients that we used for this included octopus marmitako, rice-shaped pasta, and wakame (seaweed) salad.
Ceviche de salmon con guacamole. Another excellent seafood pintxo that we learned to prepare is the salmon ceviche with guacamole. This one has to be the best one we made in terms of flavor. The subtle spice of the guacamole mousse and purple onions complemented the fresh salmon slices, trout’s roe, and coriander. The ponzu (a combination of lime, coriander, and soya) boosted not just the pintxos’ taste, but as well as its aroma.
Boomveja. This boomveja is an amalgam of bomba de oveja, which translates to “lamb’s bomb”. We made this one from brioche made with sheep’s milk, pimenton cotton, and lamb’s stew with mirin, kimchi, star aniseed, and chilidron. The name for this pintxos is very fitting. The spiciness of it was definitely the bomb!
Tres leches, chocolate y fruta. Did you know that pintxos can also be eaten as desserts? For our last lesson, we were taught to make three milks, chocolate, and fruit, a type of mild and sweet pintxo. The ingredients of this pintxo included financier (French almond cake), textured with condensed milk, ordinary milk, and evaporated milk, as well as creamy chocolate. The sweetness of the mixture was complemented well by the fruity sourness of strawberry, osmotised pineapple, and an emulsion of orange and turmeric.
We had a great time creating our very own pintxos. The succession of our lessons was smooth and efficient, with each creation getting more flavorful and more difficult to make than the previous one. We are grateful for being given the opportunity for this workshop, much more being taught by experts.
Our workshop was offered by Pamplona Food, which is dedicated to giving tours on Pamplona and Navarre’s food, wine, and culture. You may visit their website pamplonafood.com for more information, or contact Bea at +34 634 452 743 or at [email protected].
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This Spain Street Photography and Food Tour was made possible by Spain Tourism Board, Turkish Airlines, Madrid Tourism, Visit Barcelona, La Rioja Tourism, Donostia San Sebastian Tourism and Convention Bureau and Turismo Bilbao.
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