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10-04-2013

What to eat in the valley of Roncal


There are several good reasons to visit the valley of Roncal. Along with the magnificent beauty of nature, the valley is known for its excellent gastronomy. After a nice walk through the karstic mountains of Larra Belagua, I would like to recommend you to try some of the most typical dishes of this valley. If you have plans to expand your stay in the Roncal Valley I suggest you try them all!

I would like to start with the Roncal cheese, it is a cheese with a distinctly strong flavor. The cheese is known as ‘The son of the Pyrenees’ and was the first to receive a designation of origin in Spain. It is an homemade cheese made from raw sheep milk of the  'Lacha'race, rennet and salt. The cheese has a very special, spicy and buttery flavor. The best way to enjoy the cheese is with bread and a glass of wine. If possible during a break at one of the mountaintops, the better!


Visit one of these cheese museums in the valley of Roncal, here you can see the production of the cheeses with the traditional methods, which are still used:
Kabila Enea the Uztarroze. 948 893236
Larra the Burgi. 948 477046
Onkizu the Bidankoze. 948 477096
Diego Etxea the Bidankoze. 948 477027
Enaquesa the Roncal / Erronkari. 948 475014
Marengo the Belagua (Isaba). 948 394039


Another typical cheese of this region is the cheese with quince and walnuts. It has a great contrast in textures and a mix of sweet and salty flavors. Along with different nuts, this is a delicious dessert or lunch.

And what about the lamb chops?! They are especially delisious when they are roasted or grilled with a wine branch. This branch gives the meat the delicate aroma and flavor. The lamb chops are going very well with the Piquillo peppers.

But undoubtedly the most representative dish of the valley is ‘the crumbs of the pastor’ (migas de pastor). Although it is a simple recipe, each chef add their own spin and flavor to the dish, with mushrooms, bacon and other ingredients. The dish goes well with a good red wine. It is a highly nutritious meal that gives you power to walk one of the many trails through the valley, or even to climb to the top of the Pyrenees.

After this great dish, you can’t forget a great dessert. La cuajada is a dairy product made from sheep milk and rennet. You can add honey, sugar or/and nuts ... according to your own taste!

In the river ‘Eska’, you can find the best trout of Navarre. It is a juicy blue fish, which taste even better with a few slices of cooked ham (serrano ham) and a sauce made of onion, garlic and parsley. In this way it becomes a true sensation to taste.

If you like mushrooms, the valley of Roncal provides the perfect place to spend your holiday. Because in this area these delicacies can be found in nature. From spring to autumn, there grow different kinds of mushrooms in the mountains of Belagua: the Marzuela, the perretxiko, the Boletus edulis, the Negrilla or Robellón. Besides these rich variety of mushrooms, there are hundreds of different ways to cook them!

On one of your walks through the forest, you will definitely find a fruit with a purple / red color. This fruit is used to make the famous patxaran of Navarre. It is an alcoholic beverage derived from natural alcohols with a fruity aroma and flavor with an anise-like aftertaste. With ice it is perfect  after a heavy meal.

Finally, I would like to nominate the txistorra sausage, still heading in the list of top products of gastronomy in Navarra. There are many flavor variations possible, such as: bacon, lean, garlic, peppers, and of course the variation of each house recipe with simple ingredients. Making the sausage is not simple, it takes a long time and is a loving process. Try the sausage on a sandwich or with fried eggs and taste how delicious it is!

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