The originality of the Basque cuisine is born of the contrast between the ocean and the mountain.
Maritime activity has always been very important to the Basque Country. Consequently, the preparation of fish of all types occupied pride of place in the coastal villages (ttoro (a Basque fish stew) at St Jean de Luz, marmitako (another Basque fish stew), anchovies, hake “koskera”, Bream on the grill or, amongst the better known, Hake Koskera or cod with Pil-Pil sauce or even baby cuttlefish in ink or on the grill).
Inland, pigs and sheep are the incontestable basis for culinary preparations; Bayonne ham, Serrano, minced veal, Basque chicken with its Spanish omelette. But also famous products such as: Ardi Gasna, a sheep’s milk cheese, one of the emblems of Basque gastronomy, like Espelette peppers, inseparable from Basque cuisine. For dessert: Basques cakes, macaroons, Spanish nougat or even a baked custard will reawaken your taste buds.
To try: the wines of Irrouléguy, Txakoli (ideal for fish and seafood), Rioja and don’t forget the Basque cider!!!
Taste the gastronomy of the Basque country
Generous and distinctive, qualitative and varied, Basque gastronomy reflects its territory: straddling France and Spain, and between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees, the Basque Country has preserved its culinary traditions intact and alive, as well as its entire cultural heritage. The variety of Basque cuisine makes it no less a cuisine with a strong identity: there are mountain and maritime local products, such as sheep’s milk cheeses, sausages, fish and shellfish, typically local products such as chocolate and Espelette pepper, and preparations combining the influences of French Béarn and Spanish Navarre. In coastal towns and villages, you can enjoy traditional soups and stews made with fish or seafood cooked à la plancha, like the famous chiperons. On the ground side, dishes are often enhanced with chilli pepper, such as piperade or axoa (veal stew). An ideal destination for gourmands and lovers of culinary discoveries, the Basque Country is full of specialities to discover during tastings at producers’ premises, on the terrace of restaurants and tapas bars, or around a traditional Txotx: a farm menu shared in a cider house with cider tasting at the end of the barrel.