Basque culture


Conviviality around a fine table

Food and drink are without a doubt one of the essential keys to Basque culture. The tradition of meticulous preparation of seasonal produce is deeply rooted throughout the Basque Country, and conviviality around a fine table is a constant.

The diverse range of produce available to a people who have sea, mountains, plains and vineyards has made possible an enormous variety of dishes and specialities which form part of the roots of Basque cuisine.

At any restaurant or bar you can enjoy the finest ingredients lovingly prepared, never over-cooked, so that they keep all their freshness and essence. All the establishments that fulfil these quality criteria have joined together in the Club Euskadi Gastronomika, with a seal you need to look out for during your stay with us.

Traditional produce markets are the temples of this type of cuisine, and those at the head of the most famous restaurants go to them.

In addition to eating well, here in the Basque Country we like celebrating and the festive calendar is packed with dates on which food and drink play a starring role, with special events dedicated to sea bream, ribs, beans, txakoli and the grape harvest, among other things.

On the basis of this tradition, a movement began several decades ago to bring creativity, innovation and research to the culinary sphere. Out of this initiative there emerged a group of great cooks who are now in the élite of world gastronomy. Proof of this is the large number of restaurants in the Basque Country that boast Michelin stars.

Txikiteo and haute cuisine in miniature

A very special kind of cooking visitors will find in the Basque Country involves pintxos. Based on a tradition linked to txikiteo (groups of friends who drink wine on a route taking in different bars), these have joined this movement of innovation and discovery, to the point where they have become an affordable way of tasting what has come to be known as “haute cuisine in miniature”.

Basque culinary tradition also takes the form of a unique phenomenon: the gastronomic societies, also called txokos. These are private clubs, but with many members, where groups sharing a love for fine food can meet and cook. These societies are becoming more and more accessible, and some of them now open their doors to visitors and tourists.