The Very Best Basque Country Cuisine Is Featured in a Fun YouTube Series

Learn what is so special about txokos, goose barnacles and kokotxas.

Munchies Guide to the Basque Country

Irene Peralta with Basque chef Daniel Lopez in "Munchies Guide to the Basque Country."

We all know how much the Basques emphasize good food as part of their culture. Munchies, a website and digital video channel dedicated to food, recognized the Basque commitment to high-quality cooking in a series of episodes recorded in the Basque Country called “Munchies’ Guide to the Basque Country.”

And with more people spending time at home these days due to the coronavirus, now is a great opportunity to watch this series. While the videos were published in 2015, the commentary on Basque food is still relevant today. Click on the video above to watch all five episodes.

The host of the series, Barcelona resident Irene Peralta, gives an informative, yet enjoyable reflection in English on Basque cuisine and Basque Country restaurants. One commenter accurately describes Peralta as “clever, funny, pretty in a girl-next-door kind of way” and notes that she “has a bit of a mischievious streak.” Peralta’s expressions and hilarious comments engage the viewer through all five episodes.

Episode 1
Episode 1 starts off with a visit to a txoko, a gastronomic society unique to the Basque Country, where male members do all the cooking and the cleaning. One of the women guests calls it “the best miracle in the world.” Peralta also visits Eneko Atxa, one of the top chefs of the Basque Country, at his environmentally correct restaurant Azurmendi in Bizkaia.

Episode 2
In this episode, Peralta visits a local older man only known as Miguel, who dives in dangerous waters near Bakio for goose barnacles, also known as the Devil’s Finger and the most expensive seafood in Europe. Known as percebes in Spanish, the barnacles grow in dangerous surf along rocky coastline. Their high price is related to the risk involved in collecting them. Afterwards, she visits the famous seafood restaurant Elkano, where she eats their specialty, the grilled turbot.

Episode 3
Peralta admits that eating a good steak is “better than sex” as she bites into a delicious grilled “chuleta” at Casa Julian in Tolosa. Later, the family who runs the cidery Egoitz Zapiain in Astigarraga makes Basque cider from apples. The next day Peralta nurses a hangover while she visits a pig farm that belongs to the Urdapilleta family. They are bringing back a native Basque Country pig that was almost extinct. The farmer conjectures that all the people in the North Atlantic region descended from the Basques.

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Episode 4
Peralta visits the Restaurante Fronton in Tolosa, a restaurant with a handball court, to eat Tolosa beans. She joins a beret and cloak-wearing brotherhood that exists to promote the unique bean. She also visits the Ordizia Market, over 1,000 years old. She helps chef Josune Menendez make her famous pintxo in the Bar Erkiaga. And in the end, she visits the award-winning vineyard Remelluri in the Rioja region.

Episode 5
Peralta visits Martin Berasategui, the only chef in Spain at the time with seven Michelin stars. In a hilarious scene, Peralta and Berasategui argue over an elaborate dish because she wants to eat it and for him, the foam has deflated and it’s not presentable. Peralta wins. She also visits chef Daniel Lopez from Kokotxa Restaurant and helps him cook kokotxa, a stew made from the cheeks of the hake fish. Peralta goes on a pintxos crawl in old town Donosti with Lopez and his two chef friends, Gorka Txapartegi and Jose Mari Arbelaitz.