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Nov 25, 2009 02:46 PM

Aquitaine/Basque food tour

I am a Canadian foodie in France for the year and my boyfriend is coming to visit me in December for two weeks. I was thinking of planning a food motivated tour south of the loire (I am in Nantes) going down to the French and Spanish Basque country.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
I am a student so I will have to skip on an michelin-starred or super pricey restaurants for now (sadly) so not Arzak this trip. Focus would be local, seasonal food, pintxos and markets. I especially love exploring smaller town and areas as well.
I would very much appreciate any suggestions,

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  1. The Dordogne and the Lot have fabulous dishes:
    - foie gras
    - foie gras
    - foie gras
    - foie gras
    - cassoulet
    - duck
    - lamb.
    And truffle season is upon us...
    As usual, I love the ferme-auberges in the countryside. They are not sophisticated restaurants. They are farms that offer meals usually on the weekends. There's no freshness like it.
    My faves are:
    - in Lacave (Lot), ferme-auberge Clavel in Bougayrou,
    - in Martel (Lot),the ferme du moulin de l'huile de noix
    - in Sireuil (Dordogne), ferme-auberge Philippe.

    The Basque country has major eats. For me it is the best eats region of France.
    Again I recommend a ferme-auberge, Fagoaga's Olhabidea. The food is excellent, the farm enchanting, with about 3 b&b rooms too. Not even expensive.
    Around all the beautiful villages from Sare to St Etienne de Baigorry, don't forget to try the charcuteries basques.
    And Espelette pepper and its Wedn market.
    And the Irouleguy vineyards.

    By the coast you can't throw a brick without hitting a good eatery, from St Jean de Luz to Ciboure all the way down to San Sebastian. San Sé is the Hadj. My fave pintxo place is Astelana in the old town. We also had a very good meal at our downstairs neighbor - Bodegon Alejandro, where Berasategui had apprentised as a teenager.
    Bon voyage.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      Wow! Fabulous reply, thank you! I can not wait to try out these places. The fermes-auberges sound perfect.

        1. re: nutella

          Sorriest Nutella, I never saw this post. The answer is yes.

      1. We just did a food-inspired trip through Bordeaux & Biarritz to San Sebastian and back up through Cognac. San Sebastian is not to be missed! The pintxos scene is superb. Contact me if you do end up going; I have a list of some great places for specific dishes.

        4 Replies
        1. re: purpleceline

          purpleceline, I am planning to drive from Bordeaux area to San Sebastian this summer. I would love to have your recommendations for good places to try. Many thanks

          1. re: chowess

            For SS and the Spanish Basque region try the Spanish board - lots of info

            1. re: chowess

              We stayed outside of Bordeaux at where we had a decent meal cooked by the woman running the place. It was a fantastic B&B and a great deal.
              In Biarritz, we ate at Le Caritz-- fantastic menu and very well priced. You can read more here about those two days:

              In San Sebastian, we stayed at what was probably one of the best B&B-style places I've ever seen, mostly because the mother & daughter running the place couldn't have been nicer or more helpful ( They spent quite a while giving us intricate recommendations for where to go and what to eat. Some of the highlights:

              El Fuego Negro for the most inspired, interesting tapas I've ever seen. Be sure to try the brandade foam & sun dried tomato & basil verrine.

              Gandarias for incredible seafood salads

              Goiz-Argui for brocheta de gambas

              Borda-Beri for unbelievable seared foie gras

              Martinez for some of the best tapas all around

              Vina for cheesecake (soooo good!) and tortillas

              La Cepa for jambon

              La Cuchara de San Telmo for risoto

              And if you want to buy Jambon Iberico to bring home or have a picnic, Aitor Lasa Gaztategi (calle aldamar, 12


              Wash everything down with glasses of Txacoli, a dry slightly sparkling wine.


              1. re: purpleceline

                Purpleceline and PhilD, many thanks. I am definitely bookmarking this page. It's nice to have tips on places to stay.