I thought I might write about a recent trip to the Baztán valley. As a non-Spaniard I believe I can give an objective view of Spain, and Navarre has got to be one of the best regions in Spain to eat. Spain has some excellent dishes, and all regions are worthy of a gourmet visit, but Navarre for me comes out on top! An average meal in an average restaurant in Navarre would not look out of place in a more expensive restaurant elsewhere. If you like food….. go to Navarre. As I have a couple of recipes to share, this will be the first of a two-part post.
The Batzán river flows along the most northern part of Navarre and in fact is the border between France and Spain for the last 10 miles or so as it flows out via the Gulf of Biscay into the sea. We spent most of our time in and around a town called Elizondo. We are fortunate to have quite a few friends who enjoy exercising their palates and we spent the whole weekend going from one gourmet experience to another.
To alleviate a guilty conscience we did enjoy a morning in the Señorío de Bértiz Nature Park which covers many kilometres of wooded hills as well as a botanical garden. The latter in particular has a large and interesting variety of trees.
What most surprised me was not the variety but rather the size of the trees in both areas. It might be because of the relatively heavy rainfall or the fact that the nearby sea moderates any temperature extremes, either way the trees were some of the tallest I have seen anywhere.
In the area we visited, many of the words are or have a Basque origin. The Basque language is nothing like Spanish. Other languages and dialects spoken in Spain have Latin roots and are therefore relatively easy to pick up. Basque has a very different root and has few similarities to Spanish. The best way of understanding of just how different Basque is to Spanish is to think of the difference between Welsh and English.
So for those of you who want to show off at your next candlelight supper please note that the “X” in Basque is pronounced as an “SH”. The word “xamin goxo” actually means “sour – sweet” in Basque and comes from the mixture of lemon juice and condensed milk that the recipe contains.
Serves 8 people.
1 Tin Condensed Milk (370g)
6 Plain yoghurts
Beat together the milk, yoghurt and cream. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and beat in.
Leave for around 12 hours in the fridge for it to firm up.
Well I hope you enjoyed the post for this week….. and the recipe couldn’t be easier. I poured the Xamingoxo into a large bowl, but it can look very elegant in individual glass cups with perhaps a little finely cut lemon peel to decorate. If you are planning a special meal, this is the perfect dessert as it should be made the day before, so it ends up being one less thing to do on the big day!
Until next time……..
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge