The Lea-Artibai region’s cuisine is rich and varied. Dishes are based on each season’s freshest farm and sea products. The gastronomic offer includes three specialities that have come to symbolise this region: Ondarresa-style hake, marmitako (Basque stew made with potatoes and tuna), and charcoal-grilled tuna, popularly known as atunerri.
Historically, the orographic and social diversity of the Lea-Artibai region has encouraged the production of top quality home-grown foodstuffs.
The green and mountainous inland produces cheese, txakoli wine, home-bottled vegetables, and homemade confectionary. Some of our products are: Fresh fish, white or blue fish, that arrives everyday to our seaports. Marmitako Marmitako, another classical dish, is based on white tuna from the Cantabrian Sea. Their name comes from the marmita or pot used by the arrantzales (fishermen) to cook it on board.
Tuna and sapo (monkfish) Tuna and sapo (monkfish) grilled over charcoal, are two specialities that outsiders should not miss. Of course, they should be washed down with plenty of good txakoli wine or the regional cider.
Ondarresa-style hake Ondarresa-style hake is Ondarroa’s most notable dish. Its preparation, as simple as it is exquisite, has led this dish to be on the menus of the country’s best restaurants.
Cheese The cheese produced by the Lea-Artibai region’s shepherds (particularly in the Markina-Xemein area) is the highly appreciated Idiazabal cheese, made from latxa, or milk from the local ewes. Doctor Gregorio Marañón was a great advocate of this cheese.
Txakoli wine from Biscay Other products with the Guarantee of Origin and Quality is txakoli wine (labelled Txakoli de Bizkaia), a characteristically sharp-tasting wine. According to many experts, it is the best wine for fish dishes. It is produced mainly in the towns of Mendexa and Markina-Xemein.
Apple cider Apple cider, sagardoa in Basque, is another traditional beverage that is popular in cider bars and restaurants. Apple cider production in the region, particularly in the Ziortza Abbey in Zenarruza, was documented as early as the Lower Middle Ages.
Homemade vegetables Homemade vegetable preserves are another foodstuff activity in the Lea-Artibai region. Tinned fish Tinned fish are another speciality of the region. Located in the coastal towns, most of the canning factories specialise in tinned tuna and Cantabrian anchovies, which are highly prestigious at the international level.
Cocote from Markina In bakery and confectionary, in addition to homemade bread from our farmhouse ovens and homemade chocolate, you will find the famous Cocote de Markina casseroles that have made Markina known in the most important cookbooks on confectionary.