The north is synonymous with mountains, unspoiled nature, river sources and mythical caves, woodlands and green valleys where the climate varies between the extremities of the eastern Pyrenean peaks to the most humid and mild western landscapes near the sea.
The ideal setting for local livestock farming, which gives us beef and lamb meat and dairy products such as the D.O. Roncal and Idiazabal cheeses, cuajada custards and cottage cheese.
Pork meat and products; duck and its products; game and river fish such as the flavoursome trout or salmon; mushroom varieties; “vertical” vegetable products such as beans, tomatoes or peas, and a wide variety of artisan desserts such as canutillo pastries or txantxigorri tarts.
Pamplona cooks all the flavours of Navarre, from the excellent vegetables from the fertile plots of the Ebro, to hearty Mountain stews, as well as typical products from the Pamplona Basin such as roast lamb, relleno and chistorra, a local variety of fresh sausage.
Its restaurants have options to suit all tastes and budgets – even Michelin stars – and the most typical dishes are easily available. A visit to the city is not complete without a trip to the old part of town to try its pinchos: genuine delights of haut-cuisine in miniature.
Below this dividing line lie the vegetable plots of Navarra Media and the Ribera.
The Zona Media (Central Zone), a flat, dry land and the irrigated vegetable plot, is bursting with Mediterranean fragrances: wine from two Designations of Origin (Navarra, Rioja), wheat bread and oil. But the ground also hides one of its most valuable treasures, the black truffle; irrigated land with peppers, asparagus and fresh pocha beans; cheese from nomadic herds and the delicious roasted suckling pig.
La Ribera del Ebro, vegetable plots and livestock, desert and oasis, is home to many treasures with international acclaim. Its white, red, green and yellow gold are asparagus, peppers, wine, artichokes and lettuce hearts, and oil, which can all be enjoyed all through the year, thanks to its successful preservation industry.
In perfect harmony, the menu is completed with wines from the land. Navarre has its own Designation of Origin, D.O. Navarra, and along with La Rioja and the Basque Country, it shares the D.O. Rioja for some of its wines.
Despite their quick production, the whites are delicious, fruity, fresh and richly fragranced. The rosés are among the best in the world; they come from the garnacha variety and are made using the bleeding technique, which is the most natural and oldest method. Fruity, fresh and clean on the palate, with a hint of sparkle, they must be consumed young. And the reds, mainly made with the tempranillo, garnacha, cabernet sauvignon and merlot varieties, acquire deep cherry colours with red hues; they are fruity, strong and flavoursome wines.
Of course, a mention must be given to the Navarran liquor par excellence, the compelling pacharán, which many families continue to make by marinating sloes gathered from the countryside in anise.