With fertile ground for grains and vineyards in an area called Álava, and good land for livestock breeding in Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa, Basque country has a rich culinary heritage. It’s no wonder then that today the region boasts almost 40 Michelin starred restaurants. Basque cuisine, and particularly the good eating for which San Sebastián is so well known, is internationally recognised thanks to the chefs who have earned it fame the world over. The 16 Michelin stars held by restaurants in the city vouch for the excellent everyday work of the local culinary artists who, with their feet well anchored to traditional Basque cuisine, have innovated until taking up their place in the vanguard of world gastronomy.
Basque cuisine refers to the cuisine of the Basque Country and includes meats and fish grilled over hot coals, marmitako and lamb stews, cod, Tolosa bean dishes, paprikas from Lekeitio, pintxos (Basque tapas), Idiazabal sheep's cheese, txakoli sparkling wine, and Basque cider. A basquaise is a type of dish prepared in the style of Basque cuisine that often includes tomatoes and sweet or hot red peppers.
Basque cuisine is influenced by the abundance of produce from the sea on one side and the fertile Ebro valley on the other. The great mountainous nature of the Basque Country has led to a difference between coastal cuisine dominated by fish and seafood, and inland cuisine with fresh and cured meats, many vegetables and legumes, and freshwater fish and salt cod. The French and Spanish influence is strong also, with a noted difference between the cuisine of either side of the modern border; even iconic Basque dishes and products, such as txakoli from the South, or Gâteau Basque (Biskotx) and Jambon de Bayonne from the North, are rarely seen on the other side.