Lower-Navarre cuisine remains rural and, in many households, they eat the produce they breed, grow or process at home. Pork produce holds pride of place and the Espelette pepper is the favourite spice. This traditional cuisine can be enjoyed in restaurants in the form of traditional dishes such as the piperade, the axoa, the Basque cake or the garbure soup [vegetable broth with goose] which, once upon a time, was a meal in itself.
During the wood pigeon hunting season, all the Saint-Palais and Garris restaurants serve the flambéed wood pigeon coated with melted fat poured from the capuchin, a conical ladle specific to the region. From mid-October to mid-November, you should book a table ahead in order to enjoy this highly prized delicacy.
Amikuze, or the Saint-Palais canton, is home to many breeders of Blondes d’Aquitaine and of ducks. Thus, the weekly Friday market selling fattened poultry (especially duck and its products) is held from November to February.
In the Iholdy canton and more specifically in the Oztibarre valley, many sheep farmers produce ewe’s milk and cheese. The association of the famous Ossau-Iraty AOC (registered designation of origin) can be found at Ostabat and the association of Basque Country farm producers has its head office at Saint-Palais.
Cider has always had its place in the Basque Country. In Lower Navarre, this tradition had disappeared. The Eztigar cooperative at Saint-Just Ibarre, is working to re-introduce the cider apple tree with the assistance of several producers and, over the years, has improved the output and the quality of the cider produced from its apple juice.