'The best clam chowder in the world'

Iñaki Bergés

August 24, 2011

“Near the Bidasoa River in a small fishing village is the ‘La Hermandad de Pescadores’ (Brotherhood of Fishermen) restaurant, with a fish soup that everyone should try. I assured the owner that this was the best clam chowder in the world” according to an article published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Japanese airline ANA (All Nippon Airways).

This restaurant is located near the Arch of the Brotherhood of Fishermen in the ‘La Marina’ neighbourhood where it receives the rowers from the city’s ‘trainera’ (rowing boat) after winning a race and from where the “Kutxa” leaves on July 25, the feast of St. James, on its journey to the parish church of Hondarribia. In this festival, a young daughter of a fisherman, chosen by the senior Abbot, carrys a box called the “Kutxa” containing within it the books of financial statements of the Fisherman’s Guild of San Pedro. Once the young girl arrives at the sacristy of the Church, the results of the previous fishing year are then read before all present. The procession then returns to the Arch of the Brotherhood, with a marching band, where the young carrier starts a rite of prosperity: she begins to spin as many times as she can with the “Kutxa” over her head. According to tradition, the more turns the youngster makes, the more fruitful will be the fishing trips of the coming year.

Japanese journalists held a gastronomic journey where they stopped-off at Hondarribia and at the ‘Hermandad de Pescadores’ restaurant. In the subsquent article, in addition to describing the beautiful Basque town, they described the experience of enjoying a wide menu of fresh fish (sole, sea bream etc…) and labelled theirs “the best clam chowder in the world”.

Iñaki Berges, the chef who manages this legendary restaurant of Hondarribia and who makes the dish based on the best products and a recipe from his mother; confesses that “It is a dish that has no secrets. It is a lifelong dish, based on a traditional recipe and good fish. The truth is that it’s great that this kind of cooking is highlighted, traditional, always made the same way. I think it has characterised us and has brought a great reputation to our restaurants. We consider this award as a great compliment and in ‘La Hermandad de Pescadores’, we are clear that this is earned by the work of the whole team, from Mikel Alonso, my right arm and who coordinates everything, to every last person who works in the restaurant.” 

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