Pyrenees High Route 2 - Basque Food

This is stage two of the Pyrenees High Route as it continues across the lush green hills of the Basque Country. This section is almost entirely within Spain. When the weather is good (clear skies) navigation is quite easy as you walk mostly along well defined tracks and roads. For some of the route you follow the GR11. If you have time consider a diversion to explore the historic, pretty town of Elizondo on the banks of the River Batzan.

Basque Food

The Basque Country enjoys a very diverse cuisine. The varied culinary delights are due to the mixture of sea and mountain cultures with modern top-quality cooking. The food is a reflection of the character of the Basque people, a people devoted to tradition and good food, the centre of any social occasion.

Fresh fish and shellfish from the Bay of Biscay are used in many meals, as too are the freshwater salmon and trout found in the mountain streams and rivers. You will find meals containing cod, hake, sardines, anchovies, herring, sole, sea bream, baby eels, tuna, bonito, bass, red mullet, octopus, squid, lobsters, crabs, clams, mussels, oysters, salmon and trout. Cod is a fish, which in the past was consumed on the mainland to fight off the famine, has been converted into a delicacy, forming part of numerous recipes.

The Basque countryside provides pork, beef, lamb and game, some of which is processed into cured meats like the famous the hams of Bayonne on the French side and the spicy sausages of the Spanish Basque land to the south. Milk, butter, cream and cheese are also used extensively in their cooking.

In Basque regional dishes you will find artichokes, asparagus, cabbages, leeks, onions, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and beans. Today several specific places in the Basque country are well known for the New World crops they grow: tomatoes in Deusto near Bilbao, potatoes in the province of Alava, many types of beans in Navarra and Gipuzkoa, and long green peppers from Gernika. In the French Basque country, paprika is made from the bright red peppers grown around Espelette.

Another of the curiosities of Basque cooking are the "pinchos" or "tapas", small portions served in most bars and restaurants. The Basque Country offers a wide range of restaurants, steakhouses and seafood restaurants.



Elevation of Trail

Guidebook & Map

Pyrenean Haute Route

Tom Joosten's guide to the classic high-level trek, if there is only one guidebook you buy for the Pyrennes High Route then this should be the one

Pays Basque West Rando Editions 1

The western most section of the French Pyrenees between the Atlantic coast and St-Jean-Pied-de-Port