Message from the MAYOR

Message from the MAYOR

 

As major of Hondarribia, a European city in the Basque Country (Spain), located in a privileged natural setting and bathed by the Cantabrian Sea, protected by the slopes of Mount Jaizkibel and next to the natural boundary formed by the Bidasoa River, which separates us from our neighbouring country France; it is an honour to present this candidacy to the Creative Cities Network of UNESCO, in the field of Gastronomy.

Our city, founded in medieval times, has “three souls” that live in harmony: The walled Historic City; declared a Protected Monument, was designed to survive wars with food cultivation autonomy; The Marina; the fishermen’s quarter, nowadays the culinary centre for pintxos; and the Mountain, Hondarribia is sheltered by Mount Jaizkibel, with a variety of agricultural and livestock products that offer a varied diet with indigenous quality produce.

Our hallmarks are encapsulated in the strong tradition present in all cultural events in the city. Gastronomy is, for our city, a heritage acknowledged as an edifice of memory to protect our valuable past and project us into our future.

The traditional cuisine of the city is based on the quality and authenticity of its easy to prepare products, its deep-rooted traditions and on those products in which give prominence to seafood, not forgetting the meats and products tied to the land and dairy derivatives. To this we add the restoration and production of Txakoli white wine which was already sold in sixteenth century Hondarribia. These and other products complete the mouth-watering recipes of traditional gastronomy from our city.

Our cultural-gastronomic background ranges right from the first Neolithic settlers located on the cliffs of Jaizkibel whose diet was based mainly on collecting seashells, to a group of young Basque chefs in the 1970s, eager to research, innovate and expand the recipes of traditional cooking and after a first contact with French cuisine; were the creators of the new Basque cuisine, which is also represented in Hondarribia. With a focus on experimentation and research, including new ingredients, new forms of preparation, new flavours and combinations, creating an exquisite and creative cuisine.

Gastronomic Societies also constitute a unique phenomenon, keeping alive the culinary fervour. Without them it would be difficult to explain the deep-rooted traditions of Basque cuisine in general and in Hondarribia in particular. And one of the curiosities of our cuisine are the pintxos, small portions of miniature cuisine where research, development, tradition, and quality merge and which are served in bars and contribute to facilitate access to this fine dining for everyone and all pockets.

It is our intention to continue with municipal policies to support the process of product traceability as well as the implementation of the local and international Plan of Operation with the support and consensus of all political groups and the government administrations that support us; both the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Basque Government (Hazi). The collective work in cooperation, will bring together the efforts of all stakeholders involved. This cooperation is even more vital when taking into account the size of small local producers, fragile in structure, who need help to keep going.

Our contribution to the Network is based on our experience in the traditional and innovative culinary process and can provide everything that represents the gastronomy of the Basque Country reflected in the city of Hondarribia where history, geography, tradition and its people have been moulded in such a special way.

The collaboration with the cities of the Network began in 2014 and is still ongoing with actions already designed whose continuity is assured thanks to the operating structure created in coordination with the ARMA PLAZA Foundation and local private entities.

It is for all of these reasons that I request the UNESCO evaluation commission take into consideration our values and our ability to work in a network with and for the purposes set out with the conviction to share our experience and our virtues.

 

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