Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Basque Country - Cuisine & Culture" Hits the iTunes Store

Hello everyone!

As an update to my previous post, I am proud to announce that my new guidebook, The Basque Country: Cuisine & Culture has just hit the press.  

It's available for download in the iTunes store for $2.99 - the price of a pintxo!  

You can read more about it on the iTunes store here.

Thanks for the support, and if you like it please leave a positive review here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Guidebook - The Basque Country: Cuisine & Culture

The Basque Coast, near Zumaia (Gipuzkoa)
First off – I have an excuse for not updating this blog in a while.  It's a good one too.

For the last four months I have been devoting my heart and soul into writing a gastronomical guidebook about the Basque Country. As you may know, I have been fascinated by Basque culture ever since I first heard about the homeland of the nationless Basque people. Since arriving in San Sebastián I've done my best to soak up facts, stories and cultural perspectives on all things Basque, and this guidebook is the culmination of my curiosity.  Check it out here

The Basques are famous worldwide for their culinary prowess, and the area is home to more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world. San Sebastián (Donostia) alone is brimming with Michelin starred restaurants and more pintxo bars than you could visit in a full fortnight of glutinous grazing. Beyond gastronomy, I've included historical anecdotes, a menu decoder and the most current insights on the local culinary scene so you know what to eat at which restaurants. 

Fishermen's homes in Hondarribia
Mine is not a traditional guidebook – it's an app for iPhones I developed with SutroMedia. It will be available for download in the iTunes store by July 2011 under the name “The Basque Country: Cuisine and Culture.” The fully interactive app has over 200 entries on everything from local taverns in Bilbao, splendid palaces in Vitoria, Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastián and up-and-coming chefs from small seaside towns like Hondarribia.

Traditional Basque farmhouse - un caserío
I fell in love with the Basque Country, and this guidebook is one written out of my passion for my host country. I intend not only to inform readers of their dining options, but also of the fascinating culture they are visiting. I hope that you all have the opportunity to visit the Basque Country in person so you can share my enthusiasm for this fascinating land.

And to conclude this self-plug, I'll throw in the text from the iTunes store below... ; )
Bogavante (lobster) from Restaurante Zortziko

The Basque Country: Cuisine & Culture
Life in the Basque Country centers around food. Spread across the French and Spanish borderlands and wedged between the Atlantic and the Pyrenees, the homeland of the Basque people is brimming with Michelin stars, tapas bars, and world-class restaurants. This app offers a practical gastronomical and cultural guide to this fascinating and ancient land as Mark Ayling takes readers to the nexus between venerable Basque traditions and latest culinary innovations they inspire. From medieval fishing ports to the gleaming Guggenheim, working-man taverns to the Michelin-starred restaurant of Juan Mari Arzak, The Basque Country: Cuisine and Culture has every angle of the Spanish Basque Country covered.

Pintxo, anyone?
Whether you're in search of white linen dining experiences or the perfect “pintxo” (Basque tapas), this app makes sense of a seemingly endless gamut of restaurants, bars, and wineries. Use Mark's reviews to locate precisely what you seek and compare photos of plates to narrow down your choices and read up on the latest culinary currents in the most dynamic gastronomical center of Europe. 

Hungry for more? Like with most things in the Basque Country, the first taste is never enough. So bite into this app and come see it for yourself.

*What's inside?*
- 200+ entries of restaurants, museums, nightlife, tapas bars, and historical sights
-1000+ photos of each restaurant's dishes/decór to better inform your decision of where to eat
- Interactive maps of the best bites nearest to you
- Detailed guide to “pintxo” (tapas) bars with photos of each pintxo and lists of the house specialties.
- Reviews of restaurants for every budget – from 3-course meals for 10€ to 15-course 200€-a-head blowouts
- Special section on Michelin-starred restaurants to help you decide what best suits your style and budget.
- Touristic and cultural sights with historical insight to demystify the ancient culture of the Basques.
- Menu Decoder to make sense of those difficult to pronounce Basque words!
- Reviews of 17 coastal villages so you can plan day trips or navigate the coastal road from Bilbao to San Sebastián.
- Save money with local €-saving secrets like the “pintxo pote,”the “menú degustación,” the “zurito” and much more...

Please understand that this guidebook includes plenty of reviews of sights and restaurants but NO INFO ABOUT HOTELS. Also, this first version of the app only includes the three main Spanish Basque provinces. It does not cover Navarra or the three Basque provinces in France.

Check the iTunes store in early July to download!

Surfing in Zarautz