Gastronomical Delights of the Basque Country, Northern Spain

Paella
Paella

PRESS RELEASE: With its standing reputation of being home to the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants, The Basque Country in Northern Spain is a paradise destination for foodies. Indulge in the ultimate culinary adventure and start discovering Basque delights.

Seafood is the main star of Basque cuisine thanks to its fresh ingredients sourced directly from the sea to Ribera Market, where the ground floor is dedicated to fish products.  Among the top delights, visitors can enjoy codfish, especially in the Biscay region and in Bilbao. Dishes are prepared following traditional recipes, including “al pil-pil”, fish covered with an olive oil sauce and cod’s gelatine or “a la vizcaina”, with a deep-red sauce made from red onion and pepper. Other notable seafood specialties include grilled fish and probably the most famous Basque pintxo: The ‘Gilda’, made from anchovies, cooked with vinegar, garlic, olive and Ibarra peppers, typical peppers from the Basque Country similar to chilli peppers.

San Sebastián is widely regarded as one of the culinary capitals of the world and good eating is a tradition here.  Two important dishes are “txangurro” – crab seasoned with brandy or jerez in a challenging recipe and elvers fried with chilli peppers, served in a clay casserole.  Other typical delights from the sea include hake cheeks in green sauce, hake koxkera, clams marinière, baby squid and baked sea bream.

San Sebastián is also the temple of pintxos: delicious, traditional tapas. In the Old Town visitors join locals in the centre of the city’s social life: 31 de Agosto Street.  This is a vibrant, stone-lined street packed with bars, restaurants and boutiques. Those who are interested in learning how to prepare typical Basque dishes can head to Pasai Donibane, a beautiful fishing village next to San Sebastián where Restaurante Ziaboga offers traditional Basque cooking classes.

The city of Idiazabal, located in the south of Gipuzkoa within the Goierri region is well known for its cheese.  The Idiazabal cheese follows a traditional recipe that has been used for centuries by the Basque shepherds and is made of pure, raw Latxa sheep milk produced in the farmhouses of the area, with a ripening period of two months.  The town has an interpretation and tasting centre where visitors can listen to the history of the products whilst enjoying tasty cheese.  Cheese lovers should not miss the Idiazabal Cheese Trail; it offers a 6 stage route in the natural surroundings of the Gipuzkoa province where you can discover the secrets behind the production of the famous cheese.

Each Basque town has its own sweet delight as a perfect conclusion to your culinary adventure. Cakes from Vitoria-Gasteiz and “chuchitos”, a traditional dessert, are enjoyed on Sundays and public holidays.  “Neskitas” and “vasquitos” are the most characteristic candies in the city.  In Bilbao, visitors must try “canutillos a la crema”, pastries with cream and rice cakes and in the region of Bizkaia, “mamia”, a junket made from sheep’s milk, served with honey and walnuts is the ultimate threat. 

About Basque Country, Northern Spain

Basque Country in the green northern Spain is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France. Basque Country features three main cities including Bilbao, San Sebastián & Vitoria-Gasteiz that are located approximately an hour away from each other. Basque (Euskara) and Spanish are the official languages spoken throughout the region.  Basque cuisine is at the heart of Basque culture, influenced by the neighbouring communities and the excellent produce from the sea and the land. For more information, visit www.basquecountrytourism.eus

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