It is one of the jewels in the crown of Basque gastronomy. This cheese borrows its name from a town in the Goierri region of Gipuzkoa, and is nowadays synonymous with one of the best sheep's cheeses in the world. Idiazabal cheese production also extends to the Gorbeia Natural Park (between Bizkaia and Alava), the Llanada Alavesa region and part of Navarre.
The other great epicentre of this product; visit one of the cheese dairies, where you can meet the shepherd, see his farm and the production process, buy cheese first hand, and take part in cheese tastings and pairings with txakoli.
Rioja Alavesa Territory
Rioja Alavesa lives by and for its vineyards. The link between wineries, tourism, gastronomy, architecture and art is reinventing one of the most attractive regions on the international wine scene. An oenological culture that offers visitors different flavours, landscapes and experiences.
Rioja Alavesa's must-do's: tasting the famous wines in family-run, century-old, avant-garde or underground wineries; a guided tour of the medieval villages; a walk through the vineyards with family or friends... and a Wine Route that you will love.
Cider ("sagardoa" in Basque), the broth obtained from the fermentation of apple must, has been the traditional drink of many Basque farmhouses for centuries. Today it is still produced naturally and tasting it in cider houses has become a real food and wine experience. The cider season itself lasts from January to April, although nowadays many cider houses are open practically all year round.
The essential things to do in Cider Territory: enjoy the txotx ritual in a cider house; learn about cider culture in Sagardoetxea, the Basque Cider Museum and discover its production process in the Igartubeiti farmhouse.
Until a few decades ago, this fresh white wine, with some sparkle and a slight acidity, was considered the poor sister of Basque wines. The continuous quality processes in the grape (hondarribi zuri) and in its production have turned it into a sophisticated wine that has conquered the most demanding tables, ideal to accompany fish and starters.
This young, fruity wine is produced in three denominations of origin: Getaria, Bizkaia and Álava. All three benefit from the Atlantic climate, although only the first two are grown on coastal slopes. We suggest you visit some of the wineries of Bizkaiako Txakolina, Getariako Txakolina or the Aiaraldea Wine Route.
Gernika. Every Monday around 100 producers from the region come together. Special fair: Last Monday in October.
Ordizia. Every Wednesday. This is where the reference prices of the markets of the Basque Country are set. Special fairs:
- Shepherd's Day: see the flocks of sheep that go up to the Natural Parks for the summer and taste the first cheese of the season. Held in April, on the Wednesday of Easter week.
- Basque Festivities, on the Wednesday closest to the day of the Virgin of Arantzazu (9 September), where the best Idiazabal cheese of the year is auctioned.
- Special Christmas Fair.
Tolosa. Held on Saturdays in three different places in the town, with the Tinglado fair being the most important. Special fairs: St. John's Fair, Tolosa Goxua, Bean Week and Cutlet Festival.
The Basque Country is full of food and wine museums that show visitors the history and tradition of our rich gastronomy: Idiazabal Cheese Interpretation Centre; Igartubeiti Farmhouse Museum; D'Elikatuz Zentroa Centre; Villa-Lucía, Wine Theme Centre; Salt Museum; Sagardoetxea; Txakolingunea; and Añana Salt Valley.
Through the website euskaditurismo.eus you can access and taste unique and unforgettable experiences: A 3 "michelin star" chef opens his wine cellar to us, a shepherd will teach us how to make Idiazabal cheese in a natural environment of singular beauty, we will learn how to make tasty pintxos or we will discover hidden culinary treasures such as olive oil or wines aged in underwater cellars...
The fresh product unloaded by the "arrantzales" (fishermen) is one of the pillars of Basque gastronomy, and is the raw material on which the restaurants and grill houses are fed, filling the ports with the aromas of the sea, grills and fresh fish. From Zierbena to Hondarribia, there is a succession of fishing ports that guarantee an unbeatable gastronomic experience: Plentzia, Bermeo, Mundaka, Elantxobe, Lekeitio, Ondarroa, Mutriku, Zumaia, Getaria, Orio, Donostia...
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