Meet the Instagramer: @becausegb on food culture in Bilbao, Spain

This issue, we're following Laura Arias, an IT engineer born and raised in Bilbao, Spain.

By National Geographic Traveller Food
Published 22 Aug 2018, 19:00 BST, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 17:06 BST
Photograph by @becausegb

Tell us about Bilbao's food culture.

The Basque Country loves food. Every celebration is around the table — with wine and at least a few pintxos. We've been raised watching our mothers cook, and almost every moment at home is spent in the kitchen.

What are some of your favourite dishes from the region?

Angulas (baby eels) sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, sliced garlic and a pinch of chilli is one of the most popular dishes in Bilbao, and my favourite. I love my mum's chipirones en su tinta — tender squid cooked in its own ink. Also, no one should leave without tasting bollos de mantequilla, fluffy buns stuffed with cream.

How did you get into photographing food?

I've always found the kitchen a relaxing place to be after work. My family loved all the dishes I cooked for them, and this made me want to take a leap and share it online. I borrowed a camera from my sister and enjoyed it so much that I bought my own and went from there.

Who's your food hero?

Donna Hay. She's an Australian chef and a stylist who focuses on taste as well as visuals. I think she's changed the aesthetics of food in a revolutionary way. At the same time, her recipes always work, and are simple but tasty.

Do you have a favourite cookbook?

Maybe Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1 — it contains a lot of techniques and is very detailed.

Where do you like to eat in Bilbao?

I always recommend La Viña del Ensanche, downtown. It's a restaurant with 90 years of history, and it never disappoints. Wild mushrooms with egg yolk, and red berries gratin are two of my favourite dishes there.

Four to follow: Laura's favourite Instagramers

1. @cannellevanille — Basque-raised and Seattle-based, Aran has fun with recipes and photography with a bit of personal life thrown in.

2. @jo_rodgers — A contributor to Vogue, Jo takes food photos with plenty of style. Her Instagram is British elegance at its best.

3. @marte_marie_forsberg — I really love her way of cooking, especially her fusion of Scandinavian and British styles.

4. @gkstories — This blog takes vegetarian recipes to a new dimension, and proves vegan cooking can be mouthwatering.

Featured in Issue 2 of National Geographic Traveller Food, published with the September 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).


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