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Basque Gastronomy : Produce from the land
The queen of fruits in Euskadi is undoubtedly the apple, which forms the base of stewed apples with dried fruits, eaten at Christmas and is also used in cider production.
Although agriculture was late in coming to the Basque Country, during the last twenty-five years the Basques have used produce from the land in their every-day cooking especially pulses and cereals, without forgetting fruit and vegetables
One of the most highly-esteemed products were the broad beans which, fresh or dried, were, because of their high calorific value, one of the cornerstones of humble, every-day cooking.
Kidney beans, which originally came from overseas were included later in the Basque diet, together with potatoes and maize. However, the two different varieties, red in the north and white in the south, soon took root in our cuisine either on their own, with cabbage or as a base for succulent and filling stews.
Cornflour also gave rise to essential products which have formed a part of every day cooking such as fine tarts, "talos" or "morokil", a sweetened mixture of cornflour and milk.
Potatoes were also a great find for Basque cuisine. People from Bizkaia are terribly proud of the role which the potato plays in "marmitako", a stew made of tuna and potatoes.
Peas, beans and other types of vegetables are used to create mixed vegetable dishes, ratatouille and leaf-beet stalks which are stuffed and battered. Other vegetables such as the cardoon, prepared with almonds and a light, creamy sauce are present during christmas cooking. And we must not forget leeks with the delicious thick soup called "porrusalda" which is made from them.
Red peppers, both fresh and dried, form the basis of legendary recepies such as Bizkaian cod. And we should not forget the delicate and tasty hot peppers, one of the basic elements both of new Basque recipes and traditional "piperradas".
The queen of fruits in Euskadi is undoubtedly the apple, which forms the base of stewed apples with dried fruits, eaten at Christmas and is also used in cider production. Baked apples also make a perfect pudding. Another fruit of which many varieties can be found in the Basque Country, is the chestnut.
Just as with cherries and walnuts, their production has dropped considerably as a result of the substitution of autochtonous trees for others, which are more productive (such as pine, used for wood production), but they have not been forgotten.
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