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Basque cuisine: Wikis

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Basque cuisine refers to the typical dishes and ingredients of the cuisine of the Basque people. These include meats and fish grilled over hot coals, marmitako and lamb stews, cod, Tolosa bean dishes, paprikas from Lekeitio, pintxos (Basque tapas), Idiazabal sheep's cheese, txakoli sparkling wine, and Basque cider.

A basquaise is a type of dish prepared in the style of Basque cuisine that often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.

Contents

Description

Basque cuisine is influenced by the abundance of produce from the sea on one side and the fertile Ebro valley on the other. The mountainous nature of the Basque Country has led to a difference between coastal cuisine dominated by fish and seafood, and inland cuisine with fresh and cured meats, many vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod. The French and Spanish influence is strong also, with a noted difference between the cuisine of either side of the modern border; even iconic Basque dishes and products, such as txakoli from the South, or Gâteau Basque (Biskotx) and Jambon de Bayonne from the North, are rarely seen on the other side.

Basques have also been quick to absorb new ingredients and techniques from new settlers and from their own trade and exploration links. Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal created a chocolate and confectionery industry in Bayonne still well-known today, and part of a wider confectionery and pastry tradition across the Basque Country. Basques embraced the potato and the capsicum, used in hams, sausages and recipes, with pepper festivals around the area, notably Ezpeleta and Puente la Reina.

Cuisine and the kitchen are at the heart of Basque culture, and there is a Museum of Gastronomy in Llodio.

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Ways of eating

In addition to the dishes and products of the Basque Country, there are features of the way of preparing and sharing food unique to the area.

Cider houses (sagardotegiak) are a feature of the hills around Donostia, especially near Astigarraga. These are usually large country restaurants with enormous barrels of cider. Cider is poured from a height straight into the glass for visitors, with a rustic menu invariably of salt cod omelette, grilled T-bone steak and ewes' milk cheese with walnuts and quince paste. The cider houses are only open for a few months of the year.

The txikiteo is the tapas crawl from bar to bar seen across Spain, but it reaches its pinnacle in Donostia, with hundreds of people on the streets of the old town wandering from bar to bar, each known for its speciality, whether it be croquettes, tortilla, toasts or seafood. The txikiteo is also popular in cities such as Pamplona and Bilbao.

Gerezi beltza arno gorriakin[1] is a cherry soup served warm or cold. The cherries are poached in wine, often with enough sugar added to make a light syrup. A cherry with a free pit is preferred for this dish. To release their flavor, the cherries are carefully pitted or cut in half. Usually the soup is prepared on the day it will be served, because 24 hours is enough time for the cherries to blanch noticeably in the liquid. The soup is often is served with a dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche, or icecream.

Gastronomic societies are organisations, almost always of men, who cook and eat together in a communal txoko. In large cities, the society's premises can be large and formally organised, but the txoko is frequently a small space owned by a group of friends in smaller towns and suburbs, where food and costs are shared. The first txoko was noted in Donostia in 1870. This unique feature of the Spanish Basque Country enables men to participate in the cooking process and spend time together away from the traditionally formidable matriarchs (etxekoandreak). In recent years, women have been allowed into some clubs.

New Basque Cuisine

In the 1970s and 1980s Basque chefs were influenced by the nouvelle cuisine of France and created the nueva cocina vasca, radically original in its form but solidly Basque in substance, with lighter and less rustic versions of traditional dishes and flavours. Juan Mari Arzak in Donostia became the most famous exponent and one of Spain's first three-star Michelin Guide restaurants. In a few years the movement swept across Spain, becoming the nation's default haute cuisine. Many tapas bars, especially in Donostia, serve modern-style pintxos employing novel techniques and ingredients. In more recent years, young chefs such as Martin Berasategui, with several restaurants including at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, have given new impetus to Basque cuisine.

International Basque cuisine

Basque cuisine has continued to have an influence on international cuisine, particularly in the rest of Spain and France where it is highly regarded. Catalan chef Ferran Adrià has taken the techniques pioneered by Arzak and other Basque chefs to new heights. Karlos Arguiñano has popularised Basque cuisine in Spain through TV and books. In America, Basque chef Teresa Barrenechea owned and ran a Basque Restaurant "Marichu" and was among the first to bring traditional Basque Cuisine to America. Apart from owning this restaurant, Teresa Barrenechea has written two books, "The Basque Table" and "The Cuisines of Spain". At the other end of the scale, Basque-style tapas bars are common in Barcelona and Madrid. In cities where large numbers of Basque people emigrated, such as Buenos Aires, Argentina; Boise, Idaho; and Bakersfield, California, there are several Basque restaurants and a noted Basque influence on the local cuisine. [2]

Typical dishes

Products

Drinks

References

  1. ^ Hirigoyen, Gerald; Cameron Hirigoyen. The Basque kitchen: Tempting food from the Pyrenees. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. pp. 262. ISBN 0-06-757461-0.  , page 214
  2. ^ http://www.buber.net/Basque/Food/charley.html
  • Teresa Barrenechea (1998), The Basque Table, The Harvard Common Press   ISBN 1-55832-140-3
  • Yasna Maznik (2002), The Basque Country, Hachette (publishing)   ISBN 1-84202-159-1

External links


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