If you really want to get to know Pamplona, you have to immerse yourself in its cuisine. Spanning just 200 kilometres from north to south, Navarre’s extremely varied landscape gives rise to a wide variety of produce all year round, so trying some of the typical local dishes on offer is a delicious way to discover the culture of this land.
Market gardens provide the main source of food in Navarre, particularly in the south of the Community. The fertile banks of the River Ebro supply the finest vegetables, some of which come with their own designation of origin, and Pamplona too has exquisite allotments alongside the River Arga. Asparagus, artichokes, ‘pochas’ beans, cardoon, lettuce hearts, borage and piquillo peppers are some of the products that have brought worldwide fame to Navarre’s market gardens and can be found in every restaurant in Pamplona. The local vegetable stew, ’menestra’, is a good reflection of the variety on offer.
The north is a land of mountains, pastures and livestock. Pamplona, therefore, has the most succulent meats: beef, pork, lamb, either charcoal grilled or stewed, and also game, which is highly appreciated in the autumn. And although Navarra has no sea, one of the most characteristic local dishes is cod ‘ajoarriero’-style.
The typical desserts in Navarre are dairy-based, such as junket and the outstanding shepherds’ cheeses made from ewes’ milk, two types of which have their own designation of origin: Roncal and Idiazabal. The traditional pastries includes delights such as ‘torrijas’ (french toast), ‘leche frita’ (fried milk) and txantxigorri cake.
A great way to get to know Pamplona through your sense of taste is to go out for “pinchos” (bar snacks), a very popular local custom at midday and in the early evening. The counters in the bars fill up with the most delicious mini gastronomic temptations, a perfect opportunity to try the famous ‘chistorra’ sausage, ‘relleno’, mushrooms, fritters and omelettes, or allow yourself to be seduced by more innovative specialities.
To accompany your ‘pinchos’, nothing better than a fine Navarra wine. Reds, whites and especially rosés, the wines with Designation of origin from this land enjoy international prestige thanks to their aroma, body and flavour; the finishing touch if you want to take an unbeatable taste in your mouth home with you from Pamplona.