At the crossroads of Spanish, Gascon and Béarnese cuisine, the gastronomy of the Basque Country rhymes with generosity, flavors and conviviality.
De the chain of the Pyrenees to the Bay of Biscay, the Basque country French is a territory at the same time anchored in its traditions. But it has also imbibed the cultures that surround it. From the influence of its neighbors, Basque cuisine has taken the best to enrich its tasty gastronomy, colorful and full of character. pintxos et Tripotx, Espelette pepper and piquillo, Basque cake and ossau iraty, Izarra et Patxaran are the delight of the Basques and their guests.
A remarkable location
The geography of Pays Basque offers its inhabitants a variety of local products. The ocean brings seafood. The mountain offers delicious cheeses and exceptional cold meats. The valley provides an abundance of the famous peppers, wines and cakes. All these products have made this corner of France famous.
A strong culture
In the same way as songs, dances, sports or language, gastronomy is an integral part of Basque heritage. Historically, the inhabitants of towns and villages have come together to rejoice and take on sporting and culinary challenges.
Gastronomy of the Basque Country: The history of pintxos
It was in the bars of San Sebastián - Donostia in Basque - that the pintxos. On the occasion of the holidays, some bars in the city have started offering small portions of traditional dishes arranged on slices of bread. The cooks began to concoct the pintxos. These sandwiches topped with fish, cold meats, vegetables, meats or shellfish are then an immediate success. Since this period, these cousins of tapas have been served at festivals and popular gatherings. The pintxos became one of the most popular specialties summer visitors.
In the Basque Country, many traditional fisheries are still practiced. Markets are overflowing with freshly caught tuna, sardines, anchovies, clams and crabs. These products are then found in the kitchens of restaurateurs. Among the most famous specialties, squids are dsmall squids with onions, tomatoes and peppers. Fried red tuna stuffed with piperade is an iconic dish. We can also mention hake koxkera, sea breamoiartzun or the stuffed crab, called crab. A final specialty based on pieces of hake, langoustines, mussels, garlic and onions can be found in the Basque Country. The bull is a fish soup, formerly made at sea by fishermen during cod fishing periods.
Local products at the heart of Basque gastronomy
Cold meats from the Ossau and Aspe valleys, But also Bayonne ham are essential allies for aperitifs and festive evenings. Among the specialties, let's not forget the fiddling, a Basque sausage garnished with onions, or its cousin the tripotxa, made with sheep. Pork and lamb are undoubtedly the most consumed meats in the Basque Country. Yet it is Basque chicken cooked with piperade, which is the most famous of Basque meat dishes. In the Basque Country, chili peppers play a major role in cooking. The town of Espelette has even made it its emblem. The garlands of dried peppers arranged on the facades of the houses are intimately linked to the image of this small Basque town.
Cheeses, cakes and spirits
To conclude this overview of Basque gastronomy, we must mention Basque cheeses. L'ossau-iraty, roncal and l'idiazabal or even the famous and generous Basque cake delight the guests at the end of the meal. On the alcohol side, four appellations of origin are the pride of Basque winegrowers. Two liqueurs - theizarra and patxaran - to be enjoyed in moderation with friends. The local cider, sagardotegi continues to compete with its Norman ancestor on the tables of the Basque Country.