behind the scenes : a basque birthday

So, you already know what a three-year-old Basque child's birthday party looks like.  Well, here's a peek into a slightly different celebration.

What happens when you have friends who are so donostiarra, so basque and so...hungry? You have a birthday party in the batzoki, or meeting place in Euskara, which in this case is a txoko (Basque) or sociedad gastronómica (Spanish) or gastronomic society (bad English) or dining club (more English). The batzoki that just happens to be the Basque Nationalist Party's.

And, by the way, it's not just a birthday. It's a pintxo competition. *Bam*.

So back to the kitchen of the sociedad, to try to hold my own in the kitchen against this born-and-bred die by food folks. There were twenty-something guys lovingly spooning squash sauce over battered and fried white asparagus, girls flipping croquetas, and a certain lovely birthday lady running around in a sparkling black dress, opening bottles of txakoli.

That's my plate. Morcilla balls stuffed arancini style with Ossau-Iraty cheese, with guindilla mayonnaise and a guindilla-pepper relish.  Delicious. Recipe coming soon....mysterious mission to complete before I hand it over.

Competition was stiff, however. It wasn't just the melons stuffed with candy brochettes. I knew the most menacing threat would be the plate below, chicken skewers with pomegranate and peanut sauce, made by a very special Donostiarra.  

Sure enough, during the voting/awards ceremony, the birthday girl announced the winner...the exotic chicken skewers.  Maybe next time...until then, ZORIONAK, ANE!