The richness of the Basque cuisine is proved by the quality of its products, the simplicity and variety of its dishes and the great number of chefs that has been originated in this land. The Basques’ liking for good gastronomy is a part of their everyday life. For them eating means more than a basic necessity. That is why it is not strange the existence of a great number of gastronomic societies (that are traditional places of reunion, which members compete in preparing exquisite dishes for the guests) or the very extended practice of the txikiteo, what means to go in a group from bar to bar having txikitos (small glasses of wine) or zuritos (small beers) that are accompanied by the delicious pintxos, name given in this place to the tapas.
In relation to the products used, fish is the base of Basque cuisine: thus bonito, hake, sea bream, anchovies, sardines or monkfish, are some of the most popular, and all of them are cooked in many different ways, with excellent and original sauces. Very famous fish dishes are: almejas en salsa verde, angulas a la cazuela, bonito con tomate, merluza a koxkera, bacalao a la vizcaína or href="recipes/bacalaopilpil.php">pilpil, besugo estilo Bermeo, txipirones en su tinta, marmitako.
We have to mention as well lamb and beef meat, roast or stew, and legumes and vegetables (alubias de Tolosa, habas, judías verdes o vainas, puerros, berzas, espárragos, guisantes). In the dish called pimientos del piquillo rellenos de carne al estilo Bilbao. There is a good combination of all of them.
There are also high quality chesses as the one of Idiazábal, cheeses made of lacha sheep’s milk.
Finally, we must add the excellent wines of the Basque country like the wines of La Rioja alavesa that, like all the wines of La Rioja are famous in the whole world, or the popularity of the Txakoli. This is a normally white, fruity and young wine produced mainly in Vizcaya and Guipúzcoa, showing a characteristic slight acidity which gives it an outstanding personality.
Finally, note the rich, although not very well known, Guipuzcoan cider.