My sister and I spent over two weeks traveling around Spain, but in the end, I think our favorite experience was our day at San Sebastián’s Mimo Cooking School.
Mimo offers a variety of different classes, but we opted for The Essential Pintxo, figuring that our best bet was focusing on San Sebastián’s signature form of cuisine. Pintxos are the Basque version of tapas, and they are a major part of any visit to San Sebastián. Well, at least, a major part of any visit that involves good food! Over the course of four hours, we cooked up several of them – plus a full meal!
Led by chefs Angus and Miguel, we assisted with the preparation of the meal from start to finish, pintxos to dessert. To begin, we started with mise en place, cutting up all our veggies and meats. I have always felt I had horrible knife skills, so it was interesting to watch and (try to) learn from these expert chefs. We were each given different items to prepare; I took care of the shallots and garlic.
Once everything was chopped, we moved into the kitchen proper. I had to give the chefs a lot of credit – we were making so many dishes, and they had to be in constant movement, keeping everyone on track and making sure none of the dishes were getting too messed up by us novices. My sister was tasked with making the béchamel for our blood sausage croquettes, which involved a tremendous amount of stirring; my tasks during this time were considerably more low-key! Throughout the process, one of the staff members kept coming around with different alcohols for us to sample. My kind of cooking!
Once we finished cooking, it was time to eat! We first gathered around a big communal table to sample our pintxos: a divine octopus, two types of croquettes (calamari and blood sausage, the latter of which is much less scary than it sounds), tortilla (Spanish, not American, style, meaning it’s basically a very thick omelette), and bread.
After our pintxos – which were a feast unto themselves! – we moved into the dining room to eat. We had three courses, each paired with a wonderful wine. To start, we had oven-baked crab topped with bread crumbs and herbs:
Our main was veal cheek with slow-roasted peppers. The peppers were amaaaaazing; that slow-roasting really did the trick!
To finish, we had a walnut ice cream atop custard. The walnut ice cream, in particular, was wonderful.
After finishing our meal, we were beyond stuffed, and tremendously content. We both agreed that the experience was incredible: our instructors were super helpful, our fellow classmates were fun and friendly, and the food was, of course, incredible. What a great day!