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Peppers from Navarre

All the culinary art of Navarre is concentrated in Pamplona and therefore, among its typical dishes are may be found specialities from throughout the Autonomous Region, which enables it to offer a very wide variety of dishes. The foods which characterize the gastronomy of Pamplona are described below:


Vegetables occupy an exceptional place in Navarrese gastronomy.Tender and fresh, they are cooked in different ways and among all the varieties available, special mention should be made of artichokes (better if they are from Tudela and prepared with clams), broad beans, cardoon and borage. In this sense especially outstanding among the culinary specialities prepared using garden produce from Navarre are the vegetable stews, ratatouille, piperade (peppers and tomato) and Navarrese gazpacho, as well as ardanzopa or zurrukutun, a soup made from the leftover broth from vegetables. Lettuce hearts, tender asparagus and “piquillo” red peppers are also essential on any typical menú from Pamplona.


Among the pulses, the red kidney beans and haricot beans are highly regarded, cooked with pig´s tail or quails. For its part, the rich micology tradition of Navarre provides forest mushrooms of great culinary value which are eaten on their own or accompanying other stews.


Among the meat dishes, the T-bone steaks are famous, both of ox and veal (if possible, from Navarre), lamb cooked with tomato and peppers, lean slices of meat with tomato, pig’s trotters, menudicos (lamb’s feet and tripe with blood), roast gorrín (suckling pig) and zikiro jate (castrated baby goat grilled on beechwood). Although typical from the Baztan valley, it is also possible to try baztanzopas in Pamplona, a variant of migas de pastor (shepherd’s breadcrumbs) cooked in ram fat and vegetables. For its part, the festivities of San Fermín provide a good opportunity to try a bull’s meat stew or some other stews whose main ingredient is the meat from this animal, such as braised bull’s tail, bull’s feet with peppers, young fighting bull steak served in a casserole dish or grilled coccyx. This meat is so highly regarded during the festivities that bulls which have fought in other festivals are brought to Pamplona to meet market demands.

Special mention should be made of game, although the stews available will depend on the season. Among big game dishes, wild boar, back deer, roe deer and venison are of special note, while there is a great variety of small game based on rabbit, pheasant, hare, pigeon, partridge, woodcock, thrush, turtledove and quail. Another highly regarded dish is that of snails with parsley, cooked in tomato sauce and garlic.

The pig slaughter or matatxerri enables different types of high quality sausage to be made, such as chorizo from Pamplona, txistorra, birika (a long pork sausage made from parts of the heart and lung), white sausages and blood sausage. The slaughter also gives rise to txantxigorri pancakes (fried lard dripping mixed with dough, sugar and cinnamon). In Pamplona and its region, a very popular dish is relleno, a type of yellow-coloured blood sausage made with lamb suet, egg and rice. There is a variant of this sausage known as zuri-beltza, in which these ingredients are mixed with lamb’s blood and tomato. Somewhat more refined is the excellent foie gras made here from fattened duck.


As for fish dishes, salmon from the Bidasoa River is prepared with forest mushrooms or stewed with vegetables. Also worthy of note is trout a la navarra (fried with ham), eel cooked with haricot beans, hake a la navarra (cuts of hake stuffed with forest mushrooms) and a la koskera, baby squid cooked in its own ink, baked sea bream, kokotxas (cod cheeks) or chipas and madrillas (a type of carp) fried or cooked in an omelette. Ajoarriero (cod) is another genuninely Navarrese dish which is cooked in many ways: in milk, with lobster, wrapped in onions or with piperade.


Pamplona offers the full spectrum of Navarrese desserts. Milk-based desserts, cheese and traditional confectionery compete in terms of popularity, although some dates in the calendar sway the balance in favour of certain specialities such as roscos (ring-shaped pastries) during Epiphany, txantxigorri tarts and roscos bendecidos (blessed roscos) during St. Blaise, or the dumplings and huesos de santo (filled rolls of marzipan) on 1st November, canutillos, chandríos, coronillas, goshua and costrada are other examples of traditional confectionery which can be tasted in Pamplona. To try some genunine curdled milk or gaztanbera made using traditional wooden kaikus (a recipient used in milking) with very hot stones, you will have to venture outside the Navarrese capital, as you will have to do to try a sopacana (a sweet-tasting soup made from milk, sugar, cinnamon and capon or chicken lard). Other milk-based desserts which are typical of the region such as torrijas or fried milk can be found in any restaurant in the city. And a wide variety of cheeses can also be tasted, especially those made from sheep’s milk, among which are two denominación de origen labels guaranteeing quality: Roncal and Idiazábal.

©Pamplona City Council. Consistorial square s/n 31001 - Pamplona (Navarra) - 948 420 100 - pamplona@pamplona.es

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