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Cantabria, the heritage and Victor Merino

Cantabria's gastronomy is experiencing a great moment.

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Cantabria, the heritage and Victor Merino

Cantabria's gastronomy is experiencing a great moment. Due to the abundance of regional products and the outstanding traditional cuisine, a new generation of chefs have joined. This has been noticed by Michelin Guide inspectors who in recent years have generously given stars in the region. Cenador de Amos de Jesus Sanchez is a tri-starred chef who even attempted the difficult Madrid adventure. There are also La Bicicleta and El Serbal in Hoznayo and La Casona del Judio Santander, El Nuevo Molino and Puente Arce. And the star that I love the most is Solana. It's next to the Bien Aparecida sanctuary in Ampuero and features the solid cuisine of Nacho Solana.

We must also remember Victor Merino, the pioneer of Cantabria's new cuisine. He was the one who put Cantabria on the map.

Carlos Crespo was his replacement in business, at least in the area of operations. He took over Bodega del Riojano in 2008, which was an entire Santander institution. It was founded in 1938 as a bulk wine shop by the Merino parents. He was also the one who transformed it into a restaurant several years later. The winery has been turned into a museum with its valuable collection of vats caps by exceptional artists. It is also one the most popular places to eat in Santander. There are many classic dishes, including tripe and snails. Rioja, the Russian salad and the peppers roasted on charcoal. The squid rings and the cachon stewed with its ink.

Crespo manages the Botin Center's gastronomic section. He has also opened places like the Solorzano Bar, which offers a dozen and a quarter vermouths accompanied with delicious tapas. Pan de Cuco is a popular restaurant in Suesa on the other side of Santander Bay. As if all that wasn't enough, Victor Merino also invested in Madrid with Paco Quiros. They now have the best Cantabrian food at places like La Bien Aparecida and La Maruca.

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