If you equate Spanish cuisine simply with tapas or can picture Iberian gastronomy only in terms of Ferran Adria's El Bulli restaurant, it's time to book a ticket to Madrid and discover the real tastes and smells of Spain today.
The Spanish capital is a lively incubator of talented cooks. So lively in fact, that many have become culinary stars even before being blogged about! Lucky for us, the most recent Michelin guide dedicated to Spain and Portugal has gathered an intriguing list of names. At present, 21 Madrid restaurants have attained the legendary star representative of culinary excellence.
Where to begin, if not for the most spectacular? Enter Diego Guerrero, chef of the restaurant DStage. Built and decorated to look like a theatre, his restaurant transforms diners into spectators and the chef and his kitchen are the acting troupe.
DStage does not have a menu but functions on the whims and inspirations of Chef Guerrero. A 14-course meal is offered for 118 euros ($A177) or a smaller 10-course dinner for 88 euros ($A132).
Clients will be instantly put at ease by Guerrero as they enjoy a feast for the eyes, ears and the taste-buds. Guerrero and his kitchen also have fun, creating trompe-l'oeil-style dishes that look to be one food and are revealed as another once tasted.
Among his signature dishes is ravioli, which he prepares with a whole yolk and a slice of chorizo hidden between a slice of bread.
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The Michelin star investigators also fell sway to young chef Javier Aranda's magical cuisine. La Cabra is the 28-year-old's own restaurant.
Considered a master of fusion cuisine, Aranda's cooking style is much more controlled, as ingredients are mixed and matched using tweezers. His artistic abilities in the kitchen gave him the reputation of being an up-and-coming star when he worked in the restaurant Pinera in 2012.
His dishes resemble edible artworks with surprising associations. For example, combining the crispy skin of salmon with eel or Iberian ham mixed with cauliflower and white chocolate.
What makes these new Spanish chefs so remarkable is their ability to modernise traditional dishes and ingredients while working essentially with local products. Many of today's best chefs in the country live by these principles, such as Luis Moreno and Daniel Ochoa from the restaurant Montia on the surrounding hills of the capital in San Lorenzo del Escorial.
All ingredients and produce used are grown or found locally in Sierra de Guadarrama. Foodies also enjoy a selection of the best organic and natural wines that the area has to offer.
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Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015.
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