The place to eat well
Basque cuisine perfectly reflects a manner of being and living that shows utmost respect for a millenary legacy, is deeply connected to the land and sea, takes care of the product until it is served and is able to reinvent itself and never stop surprising when it gives its best.
28 stars in less than 100 km
One restaurant for every 1,000 inhabitants
One gastronomic society for every 2,000 inhabitants
96.000 people employed
10,56% of the GDP of the Basque Country
The authenticity and proximity of the produce is the most cherished treasure of the Basque cuisine: the fish in the markets along the Bay of Biscay, the vegetables and meat from the farms, the cheese made by shepherds, etc. Here, all raw-materials are at hand within a very few kilometers and their freshness can be tasted for real. Origin is quality.
Where produce and cuisine
Where produce and cuisine come together. The proximity to the raw-materials can be seen in the numerous markets and sea ports that have been and still are essential social, cultural and economic factors.
These work as a nexus between the local produce and home and professional kitchens. Towns and cities like Ordizia, Gasteiz, Gernika, Tolosa, Bilbao or San Sebastián are all important marketplaces, while others like Mutriku, Hondarribia, Bermeo, Pasaia or Lekeitio are well-known for their fish markets.
Markets are special places for their atmosphere and the aromas that can be found there. It is here that one can learn about raw-materials from others, and get to closely know each of the producers. This is why even the most famous chefs walk their isles.
Photo: Iñigo Royo / Tolosako Azoka
Did you know five of the fifty best restaurants in the world are located in the Basque Country?
The Basque Country has 32 Michelin stars distributed among 23 restaurants, which makes it one of the places with most such stars per inhabitant in the world.
THE PATH OF THE BASQUE CUISINE
Worldwide referent chefs
Hard work. That is the only secret why Basque cuisine has established itself as a worldwide referent. Of course, none of it was by chance.
It was when Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana met Paul Bocuse, the main driving force behind the ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’, that the bases for a great revolution were set.
On a later visit to Lyon during the 1970s, these Basque chefs discovered the real essence behind Bocuse’s work: visits to the market, working together with producers, and the combination between tradition and innovation that was reflected on his dishes.
Back home, Arzak and Subijana gathered a group of cooks and chefs ready to turn the local cuisine upside down, among which we could list the likes of Arguiñano, Roteta, Irizar, Gómez, Castillo or Zapirain. This marked the first steps of the New Basque Cuisine which established a new way of understanding cooking that favored the use of local, seasonal produce and worked to bring back lost recipes so that they could be given a new twist.
Today, with the help of a new generation of talented chefs like Eneko Atxa, Elena Arzak, Andoni Luis Aduriz, the Txapartegi brothers or Zuriñe García, the Basque cuisine still stands on the same pillars from which it strives to bewitch the world.
Passion for the grill
Grill houses where the diner can catch a glimpse of the grill, located close to the dining room or in the street; wineries that grill using vine shoot-fire; vineyards and apple orchards overlooking the sea and mountains; ciderhouses that allow you to step into an ancestral culture; all of them can be found in the Basque Country.
Cooking that brings people together
Basque cuisine in mainly characterized by its social nature, and the place where most socializing is carried out around food is in the gastronomic societies, or ‘txokos’.
These are cult places that gather food enthusiasts, from home cooks to professional chefs. In their stoves we learn and in their dining rooms we celebrate; with our friends or with our family. This is why cooking in the Basque Country is, above all, about sharing.
Pintxos, gilda, txangurro, marmitako, zurrukutuna, txuleta, porrusalda, goxua, intxaursaltsa...
BASQUE CULINARY CENTER
The future in good hands
The Basque Country is home to an academic institution renowned worldwide: the Basque Culinary Center. A place that combines for the first time, unlike any other institution in Europe, a Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences with a Center for Research and Innovation.
The place swarms with young talent coming from countries all over the world. It is a place to teach and learn, experiment, innovate and strive for improvement.
Above all, it works in order to guarantee the future of a sector that never stops reinventing itself without leaving behind its roots.