This vanilla or cherry based cake is an emblematic dessert from the Basque country. A crunchy but also moist biscuit, kind of like a shortbread pastry, called “pâte sablée” in French, filled with a delicious vanilla custard gives one of the favorite typical cake in France. A nice alternative is to fill it with black cherry jam, or to add almonds or rum in the custard. In every way, it is a real treat!
Get our recipe of Basque cake right here!
To be pronounced Ashoa, this rustic dish is made of minced veal meat, Espelette chilli pepper, red and sweet peppers, and onions. Espelette pepper is a PGI chili pepper, made in the charming village of Espelette in the Basque country, which is trending in every French plate. It makes the Axoa a very special course, tasty and spicy.
Find a recipe with Espelette chili pepper here!
This very popular dish matches tomatoes and bell peppers to chicken meat, and assure you a meal full of sunshine. Also using the famous Espelette chili pepper, the chicken slowly cooked in the vegetables takes all their flavours and gives a tender meat. This dish marries perfectly the mellow texture of chicken thighs to the chili pepper sharpness .
Get our recipe of Basque chicken right here!
You surely have heard of beret, this hat we imagine all painters wear, and on top of every Frenchman head when he is getting his baguette. It is actually from the Basque Country, and it is such a symbol that they made a cake to honor it. To have a full tribute, they used chocolate, to honour Bayonne, this Basque city which is the chocolate capital of France. A mix between a chocolate sponge cake and chocolate cream, sprinkled with chocolate vermicelli, gives this funny cake, really shaped like a hat!
Pronounced Pintshos, these appetizers are little toasts, kind of like bruschettas, but only using basque products. Coming from the Spanish word “pinchar”, the whole toast was holding together with a wooden stick. The most famous Pintxos is the one where a slice of sheep cheese (called Ossau Iraty) is topped with black cherry jam. Cheese and jam you say? The basque did it, and everyone who tried it loves it! So why won’t you?
Get a shrimp and parsley pintxo recipe!
Since the Basque country is on the French coast, they love sea food there. Especially chipirons. Maybe you have heard of it as squid rings. They use a flattop grill, or plancha, to cook them, with some garlic, parsley, and as you may have guessed by now, Espelette chili pepper. If you never had squid rings before, this is the best way to try it !
Find a squid recipe right here !
The koka flan is named after his former mould, seashells (Koka in basque), before they could use potteries that could endure high heat. The recipe is pretty close to a basic caramel flan, only it is heartier : using 14 egg yolks, and half milk, half cream, this is a dessert that can fill any big eater’s belly !
Find a flan recipe right here!
As you may have understand by now, Basque people love their peppers, and they have all sorts of them. They use this Spanish one, called piquillos, to garnish them with a lot of different ingredients, to serve as appetizers. Goat cream cheese, tuna, piperade (a pepper ragout, because that is never enough!), codfish, corn, a lot can turn these cute little sweet peppers into the best tapas (name for Basque appetizers).
Find a piquillos recipe right here!
Going back to sea food with this tuna dish, literally named “Tuna pot”. Pretty close to the Axoa, only using tuna (Saint-Jean-de-Luz in the Basque country is the biggest tuna port in France), the difference stands in the steps. You have to make a fish fumet first, using the head of the tuna. Very smelly, it can be disgusting at first, but when you eat it, it just comes to a beautiful harmony. Like French cheeses, you can’t judge a dish only by its smell.
Get a recipe of Marmitako right here!
Yes, we know, it’s not a dish. But it should really be treated the same, since it is the best food you can have in the Basque Country. Ham? Yes. Because it’s a cured ham, under PGI status, and you can eat it with absolutely anything (French, of course). A good Bayonne ham is made with porks fed with corn and whey (a cheese product). It’s the best dried ham you can ever have in France, and each Basque dish has been revisited with it. You can’t have more patriotic food than the one which is named after one of the Basque country greatest city.
Find recipes using Prosciutto here!
Because there is never enough, here is a selection of recipes