Hotel Maria Cristina welcoming Hélène Darroze for summer season


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Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian, a Luxury Collection Hotel, has announced that critically-acclaimed chef, Hélène Darroze, will take up residency as a special guest chef from 8 June to 30 October 2016. The pop-up restaurant, Hélène Darroze at Hotel Maria Cristina, will bring a unique celebration of Basque Country cuisine to one of the world’s most renowned epicurean destinations.

“The opportunity to create a restaurant at Hotel Maria Cristina is a dream come true,” said Hélène Darroze. “During the last few years I longed to return to cook in the land of my childhood, Les Landes or the Basque Country, where generations of my family have had a restaurant for a century. San Sebastian has always been part of my identity as my grandmother and her family were from Hendaye, which is very close by. I’ve built much of my culinary DNA in this amazing city, having visited many times. It is truly one of the gastronomic capitals of the world.”

With one Michelin star at her eponymous restaurant in Paris and two at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, her restaurant in London, Darroze has created a style of cuisine where the finest ingredients always take precedence. Quality, provenance, freshness and the producers are all essential considerations for the selection criteria behind each ingredient, and the resulting dishes allow each individual element to shine. This respect for the very best produce is at the heart of the menu at Hélène Darroze at Hotel Maria Cristina, providing diners with an indelible culinary journey.

“The Luxury Collection has always celebrated exceptional epicurean experiences as a way to immerse global travellers and bring a destination to life,” said Stijn Oyen, General Manager, Hotel Maria Cristina. “We know many of our guests choose San Sebastian because of its incredible gastronomic offer so we are extremely excited to partner with Hélène Darroze to provide visitors and locals alike with a unique culinary experience inspired by Hélène’s Basque Country roots”.

With more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else on the planet, San Sebastian is the culinary capital of the world. Hélène Darroze at Hotel Maria Cristina will showcase a menu of pintxos (Basque Country tapas-style dishes) featuring locally-sourced, seasonal produce. Signature menu items will include oyster tartare topped with caviar jelly and served with a chilled velouté of white beans; black rice with chipirones, chorizo and manchego; duck foie gras poached in sangria wine; and Hélène’s unique interpretation of the traditional ajo-blanco or gazpacho. Sweet offerings will include the iconic Armagnac baba soaked with brandy from the Darroze family distillery.

As the great-granddaughter of a chef, with origins in the south-west France, cooking is in Hélène Darroze’s blood. Hélène endeavours to be true to the instincts close to her heart and to create dishes which reflect her feelings, emotions and lifestyle. Many of her recipes are inspired by the south-west France and the Basque Country, with small details representing who she is and what she has become. In addition, Hélène is passionate about new produce and seasonal ingredients and is focused on constantly evolving and developing her range of cuisine.

“San Sebastian’s world-renowned chefs such as Arzak and Berasategui have always inspired me. I used to walk past Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian with the hope of going in one day as a guest. I am very excited to work with the hotel to present my culinary creations to its discerning guests as well as celebrate the rich Basque Country gastronomy culture,” said Hélène Darroze.

As the only five-star hotel in San Sebastian, Hotel Maria Cristina has been a beloved landmark in the city since 1912. Originally designed by famed French architect Charles Mewès for its namesake, Queen Maria Cristina, the hotel is regarded to be one of the grandest in Europe. In 2012, Hotel Maria Cristina completed a major renovation of all rooms and public areas and last year, the hotel launched a new cooking school in partnership with the culinary specialists at San Sebastian Food. Offering show-cooking sessions, themed tasting dinners and interactive classes, the cooking school further highlights Hotel Maria Cristina as the destination authority in San Sebastian.

Hélène Darroze at Hotel Maria Cristina will be open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday from 8 June to 30 October. The restaurant will offer three different menus priced at €98, €125 and €175 per person.

During major events in San Sebastian, such as Semana Grande in August, International Film Festival in September and Gastronomika in October, the restaurant will be open for the entire week.

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