Your voyage to the heart of the Basque country’s cuisine should begin with a visit to the market. Fill your basket with local products which are often certified by a quality label. For meat, please try Pyrenean suckling lamb, it’s so tender, or the unique taste of Bayonne ham, Basque pork from the Kintoa line, or exotic tasting Chistorra, a sausage flavoured with sweet chili pepper. For fish, try the fine flesh of Banka trout or something new like Chipiron (baby squid) — cooked in their own ink or grilled on a “plancha”.
For cheese, without hesitation it should be “Ardi Gasna”, a ewe’s milk cheese which is traditionally eaten with black cherry jam from Itxassou; it’s absolutely delicious! Don’t forget to add a bottle of wine from the Irouléguy vineyards to your shopping bag. You’ll get a mouthful of the strong character so typical of the Basque Country.
Is it time to eat? For an aperitif, start with a few “Pintxos”, a kind of Basque canapé, with a glass of cider. For the main course, try a meat dish like Axoa, a rustic dish made with veal, peppers and Espelette chili pepper, the local spice. Otherwise, you can opt for Piperade enhanced with a slice of fried Bayonne ham.
Do you prefer fish? Koskera hake with asparagus, split peas, queen scallops, white wine and Espelette chili pepper could be just what you are looking for! Otherwise, try Marmitako, a tuna ragout made with carrots, peppers and white wine. Finish off with a sweet touch: a delicious custard or black cherry jam-filled Basque Cake, a Macaroon from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or Mamia — ewe’s milk curd.
The local terroir is the star at these exceptional gastronomic tables. The chefs draw their inspiration from the roots of Basque cuisine, putting many local and artisanal products in the spotlight. A genuine and refined sensory experience awaits you!