An Ambassador’s Wife Shares Tips on Spain’s Culinary Culture, from Tapas to Top Michelin Starred Res

There’s a Spanish proverb: Con pan y vino, se anda el camino, which translates to “With bread and wine, you can walk your road.” In other words, with good food and wine, life is never too hard.

While serving alongside her husband from 2010 through 2013, Susan made a point of sampling cuisine from all over the country. As she writes in her memoir, Lost and Found in Spain, Tales of an Ambassador’s Wife (Disruption Books, March 2019), it was a delicious challenge.

Having tasted all sides of the Spain food experience--from 23 of its 34 Michelin 3-starred restaurants to street food and cafés--Susan offers the following as her not-to-miss recommendations:

  • Acei-tunas esfericas: “spherical olives” in which olive juice is made to resemble a real olive through a spherification process. They looked like olives served on a Chinese soup spoon, but when you put an olive in your mouth, it would explode with flavor. This gourmet exploration originated at the famous, El Bulli.

  • Sidra: hard apple cider poured from earthenware jugs. Don’t be surprised if you are taught to drink it the traditional way: by picking up the jug, hoisting it over one’s shoulders, and letting the cider flow out the spout and into one’s mouth.

  • When enjoying copitas ( a glass of vine and hor d’oeuvres served late in the day) be sure to taste corte de Foie, a sweet homemade wafer biscuit with a piece of foie (liver) in between, drizzled with a port wine reduction. (These treats were prepared for the Solomonts’ by the Embassy residence’s head chef).

  • Chef Juan Mari Arzak- His restaurant, Arzak, was awarded 3 Michelin stars in 1989. His daughter Elena Arzak has since joined him in the kitchen and has been named one of the world’s best female chefs.

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