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The Basque country of Europe is a region with a special ambiance all its own. Located in northern Spain and southwestern France, it's a land of green meadows and high mountains, rugged coastlines and white beaches, wooded valleys and dry plains. Bordering on the Bay of Biscay, the Basque country straddles the Pyrenees Mountains and the coastal foothills along the frontier between France and Spain. It includes the Spanish provinces of Álava, Vizkaya, Gipuzkoa and, historically, parts of Navarra, as well as the western part of the French district of Pyrénées Atlantiques.
The Basques are proud of their regional identity and possess a spirit of independence that has often defined their history. An ancient people unrelated to other Europeans, they speak a unique language peppered with x's, k's and z's. Theirs is also a land of contrasts, between rural and urban, past and present, rich and poor: the elegant boulevards of Biarritz and San Sebastián; the functional red-brick highrises and the soaring steel modernism of the Guggeheim Museum in Bilbao; the somber stone buildings of Vitoria and the picturesque fishing villages along the coast; the grimy industrial suburbs of major cities and the pastoral farmhouses of the interior, their walls, doors, and shutters painted white, red and green, the colors of the regional flag.
Passionate for politics and sports, the Basques are also very serious about food. Basque cuisine is famous on both sides of the border, and several Basque chefs have been among the leaders of Spain's modernist cuisine movement. There are nearly 40 Michelin-starred restaurants in the French and Spanish Basque regions, with San Sebastián boasting a trio of restaurants awarded three Michelin stars (out of only seven 3-star restaurants in all of Spain). Known as the culinary capital of Spain, the city of San Sebastián has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in the world.
The Basques like to cook, and they know how to eat well. Basque cooks are renowned in Spain and abroad.
Ingredients include the delightful Pimento d’Espelette pepper, marjoram, anise, caraway, orange peel, sea salt, and paprika.
Thanks to http://europeantraveler.net/taste-of-basque.php