Around the World in 80 Plates: Basque Region of Spain

Spain is a wonderfully diverse country that used to be divided into many small kingdoms. Today Captain Create is in the Northeast, along the border of France, in the Basque Region Even today Spaniards speak different versions of Spanish in different regions there are 4 variations of Spanish. In one region they don’t speak Spanish though. In Basque country they speak Euskara. More on that later, because even more exciting than the unique language is their delicious food!

Spain is part of the Iberian peninsula, which means a lot of the land sticks out into the ocean, and is in the southwest corner of the continent of Europe. They eat foods that they can get locally, which means lots of fish from the ocean and beef, lamb, and pork they can raise. They grow lots of veggies, fruits, and even olives for snacking and olive oil. A favorite meal, that you will find nearly everywhere in Spain, but especially in the north is their version of a tortilla. It is nothing like the tortillas of Latin America, but a dish made with eggs and potatoes. It’s served for breakfast and brunch, with garlic aioli, tomatoes and yummy Iberian serrano ham. (American ham or bacon is pretty good with tortilla too.)

You’ll need a big skillet, hot mitts, and the oven, so an adult will have to help you make it.

Now that you know a bit about the food, and have a yummy recipe to try, let’s go back to Euskara. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate, meaning it has no traceable connections in relation to any other known living language. Let’s learn some Basque!

Kaixo– “kai-sho”–Hello

Ez– “es”–No

Bai– “buy”–Yes

Eskerrik asko– “es-care-rick ass-co”–Thank you

Egun on– “egg-oon own“–Good morning

Aita– “eye-tuh”–Dad

Ama– “awe-muh”–Mom

What else can you do on a trip to Basque Country? Play!

While nearly everyone on the planet plays popular games like soccer and ball games like baseball and cricket, the Basques have another group of sports for people to stay active doing. Traditional Basque sports, known as herri kirolak in Euskera and force basque in French, is a term that includes various sporting events that originated from work activities in the past.

1 ARRAUNLARIAK / REGATTAS •

These originated from when fishermen (or whalers) went out to sea on whale hunts. These days a fixed-seat boat is made up of thirteen rowers, plus a coxswain who is incharge of directing the maneuvering of the vessel.

• HARRI-JASOTZAILE / STONE LIFTING •

One or more participants compete to lift the most weight the greatest number of times. A particular stone is used and competitors have been capable of lifting more than 300 kg.

• AIZKOLARIAK / WOOD CHOPPING •

This sport has its origins in woodcutting and the competitions are held among several participants who must cut a certain number of trunks of beech. 

The winner of all Basque related sports receives a Basque beret as a trophy. In the basque language, Euskara, the beret is called a txapela. The champion is referred to as the Txapeldun, which means “the one who wears the hat.” Below, you can see the winner in his red beret in the center!

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