Pays Basque: 6 specialties to slip in your suitcase


Biarritz-Basque CountryFood and WineShopping and French Savoir Faire

Le piment d'Espelette, star de la gastronomie basque.
© Brad Pict / Adobe Stock - Le piment d'Espelette, star de la gastronomie basque.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 26 March 2024, updated on 16 April 2024

Espadrilles, Basque cake, Espelette pepper, Ossau-Iraty ... these products may not be familiar to you, but in the Basque Country, they are real institutions! Impossible to quote them all, but here are already six to test on the spot or even to bring home. And our addresses so you won't go wrong.

The Basque Cake

Simpliest things are often the best, aren't they? The Basque cake confirms it: a pastry, pastry cream ... and here we are on cloud nine! If those with cream are the most traditional, there're also some filled with black cherry jam which, in passing, is another flagship product of the Basque Country. To know everything about this little cake, go to Sare: this adorable village in the hinterland has dedicated a museum.

Our address: Boulangerie-pâtisserie Le Moulin de Bassilour, 1129 Rue Bassilour, in Bidart.

The Espadrilles

Another emblem of the Basque Country, but concerning dress! The Espadrille is the famous shoe in linen (or cotton) with a sole made of hemp rope. Put them at your feet is to ensure a style both chic and casual. In addition, they are very solid ... at least if you choose them sewn hand in the Basque Country and, even better, manufactured in Mauléon-Licharre, their capital!

Our addresses: Don Quichosse, rue Jeanne d’Arc in Mauléon. Art of Soule, 28 rue Gambetta in Biarritz.

The striped linen

How beautiful is the Basque linen with its characteristic stripes! Originally, the canvases are linen, but we now find in cotton. To us the beautiful table linen (towels and tablecloths), pantry linen(aprons and tea towels) and decoration linen (curtains, cushions ...)! Again, to be sure to buy quality products, we favor local manufacturing.

Our addresses: The two Lartigue 1910 shops in Biarritz and in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, as well as the two factory outlets in Ascain and Bidos, where the Lartigue family has been perpetuating the art of weaving for four generations.

Ossau-Iraty cheese

It's enough to walk a little in the hinterland to realize how ewes are numerous. It's to them that we owe most of the Basque cheeses! Among them, the famous Ossau-Iraty, an uncooked pressed cheese, matured at least 80 days. Protected by the AOP certification label, created in the aim to protect a distinct cultural and gastronomic heritage, it is manufactured in the respect of a very precise specifications. The ewes must for example belong to one of the three local breeds: Manech Black Head, Manech Tête Rousse or Basco-Béarnaise. To know if it is indeed an Ossau-Iraty, nothing more simple: its crust is marked with a sheep's head.

Our adress: Krakada, located in the village square of Itxassou, is a pretty bakery that offers many local products: cheese, Espelette pepper, honey, wine ...

The Espelette pepper

Bright red, the Espelette pepper, or "Ezpeletako biperra" in Basque, is a true symbol of the Basque Country. It is also protected by an AOC certification label, making it the only spice labeled in France! In the sector of Espelette, we see these peppers in the fields, while walking. They can be bought in rope (fresh or dry) or reduced to powder: thus, they gladly replace pepper to raise a dish! It is sold everywhere and particularly in the AOC area: on the markets, in the delicatessens ... and even in the supermarket.

Our address: Le Syndicat du piment d’Espelette (25 Merkatu Plaza, in Espelette) has created a very interesting interpretation center to know everything about this spice.

The Irouléguy

Irouléguy is one of the great wine protected designation of origin of the Basque Country. The Irouléguy vineyard - one of the smallest in France - gives birth to red, white and even rosé wines. You can see the vineyards in the beautiful landscapes of Basse-Navarre, where you can also find the village of Irouléguy, to which it owes its name.

Our address: The Irouléguy winery, route de Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry, offers tastings of wines from this vineyard.

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