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The cuisine of Navarre

Autonomous Community of Navarre

Autonomous Community of Navarre

Navarre, the taste is found in variety

It is said that taste is found in variety and of all Spanish regions, the Autonomous Region of Navarre has the most varied landscape. Valleys alternate with thick forests, splashing waterfalls and major rivers. The same can be said about its culinary offer and the products which are used change from zone to zone, depending whether the traveller is in the Pyrenees, near a river or in the centre of the region, which is characterised by pastureland and green valleys. However, one thing never changes: Navarre boasts generous landscapes and products, a fact which are reflected in the character of its people, regardless of the area.

Another common element is its preference for using totally natural ingredients which give an unmistakable flavour to its dishes: the taste of good food, which captivates the traveller to Navarre. The crops and market garden produce are now grown in special areas similar to those of the old Kingdom, which was very well-known for its good food.

From the mountain to the market garden

The Pyrenees mountains border the Region of Navarre. Typical products found in abundance in this area include milk, cheese, meat, including both lamb and beef, chestnuts, hazelnuts and the famous potatoes of Aézcoa. Market garden produce is excellent and includes tomatoes, barage, peas, lettuces, peppers, thistle, cabbage and chard. The west Pyrenees are experts in their preparation of river trout or the very appreciated but increasingly less available salmon of Bidasoa. And as a starter, the traveller should not miss the opportunity to try the asparagus grown on the river banks, the small red peppers and the artichokes from Tudela. Food has always been good in Navarre. This may be due to the influence from the monasteries found throughout the region, where not only the spirit was pampered but also the stomach. From the young white beans of Sangüesa, to the pork legs, the visitor has all he could ever wish for at his disposition with regards the great variety of products and typical dishes. It is totally compulsory for the visitor to try the "cordero al chilindrón" - lamb stew - in Pamplona and of course the garlic and olive oil toasties , the pork or roast suckling pig from Estella and the cherries from Ciriza. These and other dishes are what is known as "morish", because whoever tries them wants second and third helpings. Apart from beef and pork dishes, it is important to mention those dishes made with game, including pigeon, roe deer, hare, partridge and quail. Over the last few years, a new dish has been added to the Navarre cuisine which has become extremely popular: the fattened duck from Aranaz, which produces excellent foie-gras.

Christmas food in Navarre

From the field to the table, this is Navarre’s most traditional festive proposal. Healthy, natural products such as asparagus, artichokes or cardoon are essential elements. More often than not these fresh products are eaten as starters, without any flavourings or dressings. The artichokes are cooked several ways, but perhaps the most traditional Christmas option is to prepare them with clams. On the other hand, cardoon with almonds is practically an icon during the festive season.  On the sweet side, the candied fruit compotes and the sugared almonds are very popular choices.

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