Jaialdi is an excellent opportunity to nibble on some Basque favorites. In addition to Expo Idaho food vendors, on the Basque Block, Bar Gernika, Bardenay, The Basque Market and Leku Ona will be serving up Basque fare.
Here’s what to look for:
Chorizo: The staple Basque sausage is mildly spicy and flavored with garlic and the dried choricero pepper and then aged a little. It’s different from Mexican chorizo, which is spicy and usually not in a casing. The Basques eat chorizos plain on the bun, without ketchup or other additions.
Croquetas: Chicken, flour, milk and salt, formed into balls, coated in an egg batter, rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried. Many people think these have cheese in them, but they do not. In the Basque Country other flavors include jamon, cod, squid ink, octopus and pistachio. Festival crews have made 51,000 chicken croquetas for Jaialdi.
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Lamb sandwiches: Roasted lamb simmered in a broth served on a bun.
Paella: A saffron-infused mixture of rice, chorizo, chicken, vegetables and seafood cooked in a paellera (paella pan). The Basque Market has large pans in which it can prepare up to 200 servings. Look for them at Jaialdi.
Solomo: Pork loin marinated in peppers, garlic and salt, sliced thin, sautéed and served on a bun with pimentos.
Where to eat locally
You don’t have to wait for Jaialdi to enjoy Basque fare. The Treasure Valley is home to three Basque eateries and a market specializing in Basque food, wine and cooking classes.
Bar Gernika Basque Pub & Eatery, Basque Block, 202 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, 344-2175, www.bargernika.com
Basque Market, Basque Block, 608 W. Grove St., Boise, 433-1208, www.thebasquemarket.com
Epi’s Basque Restaurant, 1115 N. Main St., Meridian, 884-0142.
Leku Ona, Basque Block, 117 S. 6th St., Boise, 345-6665, www.lekuonaid.com