The fiercely proud Basque region stretches along Southern France and Northern Spain, where the Atlantic coast is robust with beautiful beaches and bountiful with fresh seafood. World-renowned cheeses are produced from the milk of sheep that quietly graze in the valleys of the Pyrenees Mountains. Rioja wine flows from the fruits of the fertile farmland, thanks to the dry, arid conditions. This region not only has its own language and cultural traditions that distinctly differentiate it from the rest of Spain, but it’s known for its culinary flair, too. On a recent trip to the Basque region of Spain, DLM’s CFO Kent Dimbath and I didn’t hold back, bringing home with us a new appreciation for both the culture and foods, including the region’s hyper-local approach to everything from fishing and farming to raising livestock and making wine.
Thanks to the National Grocers Association, which hand-selected a group of us from family-run, independent grocers across the U.S., we got to see firsthand the craftsmanship that goes into so many of these foods produced in the Basque region of Spain. The cuisine is built around what is local and truly authentic to the Basque region, like fresh anchovies, sheep’s milk cheese, lamb, artichokes, cherries, and Rioja wine. The list goes on! “It was local on steroids,” Kent recalls. “At DLM, we value our local circles when it comes to so many of the foods available in this region. It’s refreshing to see other cultures that do, too.”
Surrounded by fellow foodies and Spanish food purveyors, we ate our way through the local markets, cafés, bars, ice cream shops, and restaurants of Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Pamplona. We saw (and tasted) how the Basque region’s local fare came together in the most fantastic ways, including the pintxos piled high. The color and pageantry of these bite-sized morsels was unreal. Pintxos quite literally means to be pierced with a cocktail stick (a toothpick will also do the trick) and are usually presented on a piece of bread, which is layered with exquisite combos of various ingredients predominately found in the Basque region.
Join us for our Pintxos Party class at the DLM Culinary Center on Friday, Oct. 27, where we’ll explore and eat these small bites of the Basque cuisine all while pairing wines from Spain’s Rioja region! Register now.
Our minds swirled with all of the ways we could bring these to life using foods found at DLM. Kent and I were determined that Spain wouldn’t be the end of the road for our pintxos experience. If you haven’t caught on yet, we love to share our passion for the best food and wine, so you in turn can share it at your table. We got busy, and the 6 featured pintxos were well worth the taste-testing. We hope you’ll agree!
Ready to taste these bite-sized morsels for yourself? Join Chef Carrie Walters and DLM’s Teresa Kearney, certified specialist of wine, for an unforgettable Pintxos Party class that’ll dive into the Basque region of Spain’s pintxos and wine from Spain’s Rioja region. Register now!