Basque-It, Full!

 

BAB beach arr

Longing to leave work days and dreaded deadlines, behind? So, too, do the French. ‘Being one’ with an idyllic postcard in real time many find themselves escaping to surf city central – beloved Biarritz, in the South of France.

Maison Adam Biarritz 9 arrFacing the Atlantic Ocean and bordering Spain, the sandy beaches of Biarritz are among one of my favourite coastlines. Designating summer days with basking under the sun, what’s one to do once the temperature drops? I don’t know about you, but soaking up the rich Basque history that is synonymous with BAB – Biarritz, Anglet and Bayonne – is what I have in mind.

Gaining a glimpse into this region’s food and culture, one post would not suffice. Providing you with a snapshot, however, good news is: eating well – à la Biarritz – persists to be a year-round event. So, while some tourists and locals are being pushed toward the shoreline, find others being pulled into the city centre. Maison Adam Biarritz 4 arrGravitating toward the sweet aromas of pastry shops myself, I walk along the cobble streets of Biarritz and make two notable stops: first, to Maison Adam and second, to Maître Chocolatier Henriet. Face to face, these corner surprises are conveniently located along opposing streets and are not to be missed. Venturing to one venue and then the other, I clearly follow suit of an over-indulgent and self-serving yet, applicably foodie-appropriate tactic: dividing time to conquer all – that’s gluttonous!

Biarritz Desserts 1 arrHappily pursuing chocolates, cakes, and pastry, these conquests are nothing short of successfully sweet. Yielding appetizing treasures to be devoured and shared, I find ‘my people’ – chocolate lovers and s’more – scanning shelves and rejoicing over display towers of sinfully delectable artisan crafted delights. Equally taking time to study unique cakes and cookies, Maison Adam is reputably the originator of the Basque macaron. Stopping to sample both, why not order some more? Requesting a little bit of this and that, I take away the famous almond cookie, Basque gâteau – cherry and chocolate varieties – along with a box of praline truffles and a bar of refined dark chocolate.

Chocolatier Henriet Biarritz 1 arrBut, that’s not all! Dessert excursion halfway complete, another lesson in tradition awaits at Chocolatier Henriet. Food-spotting between one pastry house to another, Henriet literally evokes history in the making as seen with their production of elegant French pâtisseries – éclair au chocolat et mirabelle, tarte aux pommes, truffes, pavlova, etc. – in as much as Basque-inspired confections like ‘touron’ and nougat. Candies and classic pastries abound, the assortment of goods range from simple flavour profiles like vanilla and chocolate to enhanced tastes including apricot, orange, and almond to name a few.

Chocolatier Henriet Biarritz 5 arrSpeaking volumes about the coast with the most, I leave this well-stocked boutique of treats – like the one before – with a handful of boxed up beauties. Sailing through this inland shopping experience, I’m ready to sample my ‘Basquette’ full of heavenly selects. Best part of all, this voyage need not wait on Mr. Sun or that bikini body – phew! Certain to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth, Maison Adam and Chocolatier Henriet are a couple of Biarritz’s finest locally-situated dessert houses – sugar rush, guaranteed!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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BAB beach arrHave you heard the tale of three cities?  Allow me to divulge…  Beyond borders, along sandy coastlines, you’ll find B.A.B. – Biarritz, Anglet, and Bayonne.  Home to surfers – competitive and amateur – this triple threat vacation destination boasts in innumerable sporting events and non-aquatic recreation:  upscale boutiques, live entertainment and casino complexes, summer festivals; and last, but not least, an ode to all that is supremely authentic in regional cuisine. BAB cheese arr

‘Bain de soleil,’ anyone?  But, of course!  Surf’s up, the sun’s out, and no French ‘séjour’ would be complete without flocking to the beach.  Daily sunbathing session fulfilled, a continuance of – as they say – ‘joie de vivre’ persists with another highly anticipated rendez-vous.  BAB olives arrNot entirely the typical tourist, I exchange my beach tote for another carry-on as I fashionably prepare for an open-air meeting.  Inclusive to my personalized itinerary, I make my way for a food-shopping excursion to the ‘marché fermier’ (farmer’s market) – ‘allons-y’, let’s go!BAB salt arr

Happy trails, indeed!  Canopies stretched and ranging in plenty, the unbeaten path is host to ripe “farm-fresh” favourites:  fragrant doughnut peaches, vibrant charlotte strawberries, and honey melons.  The best, however, is yet to come!  BAB saucisson arrAmidst the Pyrénées Mountains, the vast spread of Basque-inspired delicacies stands as a true testament to traditional fare, rich in flavour and culture.  Also a gathering hotspot for foodies – native and foreign – the ‘marché’ encourages masses to mix and mingle, where the topic of conversation is consistent with these readily-available selects:  ‘saucisson’ (genuine Basque Country salami), ‘croustade aux pommes’ (apple pie), ‘gâteau basque’ (pastry cream almond cake), a spectacle of olives and tapenades, in addition to Brebis and Chèvre artisan cheeses.  Unique and incomparable to other markets, the use of homegrown ingredients coupled with age-old techniques contributes to the underlying essence, texture, and taste that’s evident in Basque cuisine – without a doubt, “Made in France!”BAB farmer's pies arr

Food scoured and some devoured, I’d say my touristic work here is complete. Leaving this local market, I gain a renewed understanding of the expression, “you are ‘what’ you eat;” ‘where’ you eat is of equal value.  BAB flowers arrAfter all, in Basque Country, a sought-after taste for freshness doesn’t get any more expedited than bottled crème fraîche.  So go ahead – picky-eaters – be selective!  And before you inquire, the answer is “yes!”  This ‘refreshing’ chilled sour cream is both naturally-prepared, and ready for pick-up – ‘sur la table!’    On or off shore, my overall southern French experience has taught me this – life’s a beach!  As such, be sure to soak up life’s endless splendours:  swim, shop, explore, sleep and, before you repeat, definitely take time to eat – “B.A.B.-ulously!”

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.