Direct from Euskal Herriko Etxe Ekoizleen Elkartea comes a new food label designed to ensure that you get nothing but the best from the Basque homeland.
The IDOKI complements the existing EU Agriculture Biologique (AB) and Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) labels.
The IDOKI’s focus is on small manageable farms (taille humaine or human size) that grow and produce products from their farm, managed by themselves, with a focus on local sales (proximité) by selling directly at markets and local venues. The IDOKI label requires certain practices and prohibits other practices, focusing on quality and individual management of the complete operations.
If you have never been to the northern border between Spain and France, the beloved homeland of the Basque people, then you have missed a wonderful culinary delight. The de facto capital of Basque is San Sebastian a modest sized city with more tapas bars then I could count. The local wines are as sturdy and reliable as the Pyrenees, a cuisine dominated by fish, pork, rice, espelette peppers and other local herbs and spices befitting the hard-working lifestyle of the Basque.
One can only hope Catalonia along with the former French counties now called Roussillon (Northern Catalonia) will take up the challenge and create a label that protects and encourages their historic culinary delights. Competition isn’t always destructive. The Catalonian and Basque cuisines at times seem very similar but the differences are worth eating, learning about and celebrating.
It is a pure joy to eat and drink your way along the Spanish/French border; start by going south from Saint Jean de Luz to Banyuls on the French side and then return north on the Spanish side from Figueres or Girona to San Sebastian. You might just decide to stay.