Discovering Basque gastronomy
Among the enduring Basque traditions, “eating well” takes the lion’s share! Here’s a small selection of Basque specialities that you must try and bring back with you from your vacation!
Basque Country Ham
We start our gastronomic tour with the famous Basque hams. Bayonne, Ibaïona, Aldudes, Kintoa or Serrano hams are salted and matured in natural drying sheds, following the winds of the Basque mountains. Flavors develop over time. Enjoy a piperade of Bayonne Ham , a Basque specialty made with tomatoes, onions and Espelette pepper.
What would Basque gastronomy be without its little red pepper? It’s the spice everyone’s after! In powder, jelly, mustard or purée, Piment d’Espelette AOC delicately flavors and spices up all your dishes. Available at markets, delicatessens and during the Piment d’Espelette festival!
Charcuterie and cured meats
Dry sausage, salami, chorizo, blood sausage… All are made by local craftsmen. Among the must-try charcuterie specialties are txistorra, the Basque version of merguez often served as tapas, txirula, a flute-shaped dry sausage with Espelette chilli pepper, and the traditional smoked ventrèche, served pan-fried with a fried egg.
Foie gras and duck confit
The Basque Country is famous for its foie gras and duck specialties. Whole or semi-cooked foie gras, duck leg, magret, manchons, gizzards and other “canardises” will delight your taste buds with their subtle aromas and delicate flavors. Basque ducks are raised outdoors and fed on cereals grown and stored on the farm.
The Basque Country is also the land of farmhouse cheeses! These pressed sheep’s, cow’s and goat’s cheeses mature over time. They combine typicality and know-how. All come from small local farms. The long list of Basque cheeses includes Ossau-Iraty, the most Pyrenean of all ewe’s milk cheeses! Take advantage of your camping holiday in the Basque Country to follow the Route du Fromage AOP Ossau-Iraty, from Saint-Jean-de-Luz to Gourette, via Espelette, Hasparren, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Mauléon.
We can’t talk about Basque gastronomy without mentioning seafood. From Basque ttoro (hake soup), to chipirons a la plancha, to tuna ventrèche, discover the richness of these products from the fisheries of the port of St Jean de Luz and Ciboure. Don’t miss a good cod cooked Biscay style, with tomatoes and peppers. Unless you’d prefer a pot of Basque crab (txangurro) or grilled sea bream from Oiartzun. The hardest part is choosing!
Pastries, confectionery and other sweets
No gourmet vacation in the Basque Country is complete without a detour to Bayonne, the chocolate capital. Here, you’ll have to try the Kanougas (soft caramels) and the famous Mouchous (macaroons) from Maison Pariès. In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, macaroons are also in the spotlight. These were created in 1660 for the marriage of the Sun King and the Infanta Maria Theresa. Divine! Another emblematic confection to be savored with eyes closed: the Basque touron made with roasted almonds and honey. Hummm…it’s a mouthful! We’re also crazy about Itxassou black cherry jam , blueberry jam, apricot jam, fig jam or raspberry jam… we’ve got it all! And don’t forget the Basque cake filled with custard!
A restaurant to recommend?
This little article will make your mouth water and make you want to spend your vacations in the Basque Country! During your stay at our Le Biper Gorri campsite in Espelette, our restaurant “Le Bip Bip” will introduce you to flavors as surprising as they are delicious. On the menu: cod-stuffed piquillos, chipirons a la plancha, Basque salad, veal axoa, homemade piperade, ewe’s milk cheese, and many other regional specialties!