Basque gastronomy is one of the greatest treasures of Spanish culture and can be considered another monument to be admired.
In addition to its good work and love in the kitchen, one of the fundamental aspects of its success is the use of excellent raw materials. Sometimes they come from outside Spain, but in many other cases, they are Basque products.
Whether you are thinking of making an original gift for someone or eating them yourself, we have put together some of the most widely used and loved products of Basque gastronomy with their own designation of origin. Enjoy, on degizula!
Unique products of Basque gastronomy
Typical drinks of Basque Gastronomy
What better way to start our list than with a good shot or glass of the best liquids born in Basque lands? There is no better way to open your mouth for the main course.
It has gone from being homemade to filling large barrels from the best wineries in the north of Spain. This white wine is fruity and offers a completely different flavour to anything you have tasted so far. Its tasting is a must. Here are some other things you can't miss on your visit to Bilbao.
Wine from Rioja Alavesa
If we talk about wines, red in this case, we cannot forget the wine of the Rioja Alavesa. Among its barrels are some of the heavyweights of the sector, being recognised and awarded worldwide.
A historical drink if ever there was one. It is produced almost entirely in the province of Gipuzkoa. Although it shares the category of cider, it is nothing like Asturian cider. It has a designation of origin; Euskal Sagardoa.
A very traditional drink that is always on the tables of Basque homes, restaurants and inns. Based on aniseed and sloes, this drink has conquered the rest of Spain and is well known to everyone. There is no better way to end a copious meal.
Another wonderful way to end a great meal. This broth is very similar to the aforementioned patxaran, although the main difference is the ingredients used in its preparation. Basaka is made with sour apples, it is less popular than patxaran but its flavour will surprise and please you.
You might not expect this drink when talking about typical products of the area, but it is true, this mixture of coca cola and wine is one of the most popular things you will find in the Basque Country. It goes without saying that it is the absolute king of the fiestas.
Typical starters of Basque Gastronomy
Let's take a look at some products that are perfect to start a great typical Basque meal.
As soon as you set foot anywhere in the Basque Country, order one. It is the most famous pintxo, made with olives, anchovies and piparra or chilli pepper in vinegar. You will find it in the best Pintxos bars in Bilbao.
Guindillas de Ibarra o Langostinos de Ibarra (Ibarra prawns or chili)
We need to talk about the guindillas, or chilli peppers, or piparras de Ibarra. They are known throughout the Basque Country and are made in Ibarra and nearby towns in the Gipuzkoa area. Also known as 'langostinos de Ibarra'.
They have a great mild flavour, without excessive pungency and a very thin skin. They are mainly found fried or canned.
Alubias de Tolosa (Tolosa beans)
OK, so the beans themselves may not be a great starter, but they are a great option to buy to prepare them back at home with all the flavour of the best Basque cuisine.
Pimientos de Gernika (Gernika´s peppers)
These are high quality peppers that have earned a golden place in Basque cuisine. Their great flavour, quality, perfect size and the absence of the gabardine, i.e. the skin that usually covers the outside of the pepper, are the great assets that make them an essential product.
Queso Idiazabal (Idiazabal Cheese)
Cheese with designation of origin, made with milk from Latxa or Carranzana sheep, without further blending or pasteurisation. This cheese is cured for at least two months and is very popular throughout the region.
In addition to this cheese, there are the Ossau-Iraty and Roncal cheeses. All of them have an intense and unique flavour that you must try on your visit to the Basque Country.
This sausage originates from Navarre. It is like chorizo, made mainly with minced pork, paprika, garlic and salt. Its great flavour has made it famous throughout the country and it is an element in any self-respecting barbecue.
Typical dishes of Basque Gastronomy
Although we have promised to talk about local products, it is impossible to talk about culinary aspects and not mention, albeit in passing, the most typical and essential dishes of Basque gastronomy.
Lubina a la donostiarra (Donostia-style sea bass)
Sea bass served with a mixture of chilli, garlic and oil.
Merluza con salsa verde o 'a la Koskera' (Hake with green sauce)
In this traditional Basque recipe, we are going to enjoy hake with asparagus, parsley and clams.
Bacalao al pil pil (Cod in pil pil sauce)
This dish is as Basque as it is well known. It has very simple elements but needs careful and meticulous preparation to be enjoyed as the delicious classic that it is.
Fish and onion stock with pepper and potato purée. The star ingredient, the tuna, is added once the pan is removed from the heat, so that it cooks little by little with the residual heat.
Typical desserts of Basque Gastronomy
We can't resist talking about the delicious desserts that make up the sweetest Basque gastronomy.
Pastel vasco (Basque cake)
Also known as Gâteau Basque or Euskal pastela, it is a dessert that originated in the French Basque Country. It is made with shortcrust pastry and filled with custard.
A typical dessert from the city of Bilbao, named after its creator, a Bilbao pastry chef, in honour of his daughter. You can find them all over the Basque Country, but there is no doubt that the best place to eat them is in their birthplace.
Dulces de Tolosa (Sweets from Tolosa)
The city of Tolosa is well known for its sweet creations. The most traditional sweets in the area are the tejas and cigarrillos, the perfect finishing touch to a great meal with a cup of coffee.
They are made with butter, almond paste and egg yolk.
This is a typical Basque sweet that originated in the city of Vitoria. It is a dessert with several layers of custard, toasted sugar, whipped cream and sponge cakes or cupcakes.