cocina vasca

/koh-SEE-noh BAH-skah/

Basque cuisine. The Basque Country, Pays Basque or Euskal-herri is a region which straddles south western France and north western Spain, extending around the coast of the Bay of Biscay. It consists of the three French Basque provinces (Iparralde (north zone)) of Soule (Zuberoa in Basque), Lower Navarre (Behe Nafarroa in Basque, Basse-Navarre in French) and Labourd (Lapurdi in Basque) and four Spanish Basque provinces (Hegoalde (south zone)) of Álava (Araba in Basque), Guipúzcoa (Gipuzkoa in Basque), Navarre (Nafarroa in Basque, Navarra in Spanish) and Biscay (Bizkaia in Basque, Vizcaya in Spanish). The origins of the Basque people pre-date the Indo-European settlements of Europe. The Basque language, spoken by 20% of the current population, is very different from Gaellic and European languages spoken in the rest of the world today. The Basques also have a very distinct and lively culture, with sports such as Pelote and their own cuisine. In Spain, the Basque cuisine is very highly regarded. It features red peppers, tomatoes, garlic and Bayonne ham. The Spanish province of Álava produces maize, sugar beet, wine and fruits, the maritime provinces fish. Basse-Navarre was previously the north of the Kingdom of Navarre, capital Pamplona (now in Spain), that was conquered by the Spanish Kings in 16th Century and seperated into two provinces, Basse (Low) to the North and Haute (High) to the South. Pamplona remained capital of the Haute-Navarre, while Saint-Palais became capital of the Basse-Navarre, under the control of the Bourbons. The borders of Navarre had changed over time and various attempts had been made to unify all the Basque people under the throne of Navarre. However the division of the Kingdom into two provinces eventually led to the division of Navarre between France and Spain that exists today. Geographically, inland Pays Basque is very similar to Béarn, with foothills, valleys and mountains. The Pays Basque, however is particularly famous for the Basque Coast (Côte Basque) with the popular costal resorts of Biarritz and Saint Jean-de-Luz.