San Sebastian

Can you get homesick for a place you have only visited for a short time? If so, I am truly homesick for San Sebastian.

On our way home from getting some sunshine and family time in Barcelona recently, we stopped off for a few nights to check out this renowned food-destination.

All of the locals we spoke to seemed really happy and incredibly polite – I think they know just how good they have got it. Positioned in the Basque region of Spain, just south of France and on the Bay of Biscay, it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. It feels like a cross between Seville and Paris, right on a beach that rivals the best that can be found here in Cornwall.

The main thing that I was looking forwards to was exploring the Pinchos bars of San Sebastian. Not to be confused with Tapas, the word Pincho (or in Basque, Pintxo) translates as spike, and refers to the wooden skewer that holds the small snack together. Generally they consist of a piece of bread as a base, with a small mountain of stunning flavour piled on-top; the spike holds everything in place. The toppings range from delightfully fresh seafood through to goats cheese, roasted veg and the ubiquitous yet still divine ham, and everything in between.

When you enter into a Pinchos bar the two things you will see in all of them is a bar heaving under the weight of a wide selection of different Pinchos, all lined up for your selection, and a raft of air dried hams hanging over head. But the fun does not stop there – indeed some of the best snacks have to be ordered from the menu blackboard.

Apparently you are meant to only order a few pinchos, and eat them with a small glass of beer or wine and move onto to the next bar – but being thirsty and hungry we settled down and got stuck in.

Nestled in between the ocean and the mountains, its not the easiest place to get to, but having just come home to Cornwall for our visit, I am already planning on the best way to get back to San Sebastian – as soon as possible.