Spending part of the summer at the Côte Basque is unlike any other. The air, not desert dry like Andalusia, or the sea salty like the Mediterranean, but the gastronomy, the flavors of the region and the smells of the boulangeries are unparalleled.
Flanked between Spain and France, the Basque Country brings together the culinary wonders of both countries; creating the best mix my pallet has ever savored. (Fine, I'll admit, the fresh flavors of Italy will forever capture my heart!) What could be better than a region that brings the best of burgundy wine, French paté smothered on fresh baguettes, Spanish Manchego and queso de cabra, Jamón Ibérico and Catalan salumi? Only in the pays basque.
You can probably predict that an activity I will not miss is visiting the market - hello, it's my MO! And although I could probably spend all day speaking with each vendor about how their particular cheese is aged, how each bulb of garlic is uprooted and how full of flavor are their barrels of wine, I will not bore you with all the details. Here instead, are a few of my favorite photos (of all the 1000 or more I've taken) to give you a better understanding of the colors and flavors of la Côte Basque.
But of course, here are few of my favorite things:
Cerise Gateau Basque: an almond cake with a dark cherry filling, only found in the Basque Country!
Jamón, Jamón, Jamón: I could live only on the jamón for the whole summer... and I basically do!
Fresh baguettes: no explanation needed.
Le Prune Reine Claude: a delicious small plum that I only enjoy when I’m in St. Jean de Luz. Its green flesh is so juicy and melds the flavors of a typical plum with a tangy flavor.
Fresh Nuts: for only a month out of the year, we can find fresh almonds and hazelnuts in their shells. They are much lighter in flavor and are much more juicy!
Txomin icecream: you can't stroll on the Rue Gambetta without a cone of Txomin ice cream in hand.
Pimientos de Padron: it becomes a game to find a spicy one!
Agur! - From a little beach town, St Jean de Luz!