Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Partnership for the promotion of traditional and local cuisine

  • The Ja(ki)tea association was born in 2009 of the collaboration between several restaurants, cooks and gastronomic critics. “Initially we met about 14 restaurants in Gipuzkoa, but the project has been growing gradually and today we are 37,” explains Xabier Zabaleta, the Aratz de Donostia restaurant and the Ja(ki)tea association. Faced with the preponderance of innovative or modern cooking, the initiative began with the intention of making a place worthy of the traditional cuisine of Euskal Herria: “We realized that this type of cooking was considered, in some way, second category, while we were the ones that most products of the country used”.

14 May 2024 - 10:04

The Ja(ki)tea association, which participates in various projects related to cooking and local products, has during these years carried out numerous initiatives to disseminate and promote the traditional gastronomy of the area: exhibitions, championships of meat and fish preparation, formations… “On the other hand, we are immersed in a great project to create a seal characteristic of Euskal Herria. Much is said about Basque cuisine, but we have as an example Michelin of France or other Spanish stamps. Where are our criteria?” asks the cook. Although the partnership is part of this initiative, about 300 cooks across the Basque Country are working.

Zabaleta says that they have the open doors of the Ja(ki)tea project: “We believe that Basque cuisine is not limited to cooks and restaurants, but also gastronomic and other societies are important.” They want to bring culture and ways of making traditional cooking not only to restaurants, but also to schools, hospitals and other dining rooms. But he denounces that they receive little help.

“Ours is a succession of producers’ work”

In the menu you can taste artichokes and asparagus from Navarra, Idiazabal cheese, wines from Rioja Alavesa, spring mushrooms, fish from the Basque coast... Stresses that today the importance of indigenous products is more widespread, but when the association was launched in 2009 things were different: “At that time few talked about it”, he says.

In fact, Zabaleta follows the work of cooks to offer quality products by producers, saying that they are part of the same chain. “Without these raw materials we would do nothing.” So when they move nationally or internationally, they always bring products from here. “It is true that in our restaurants 100% local product is still impossible, but as far as possible we are trying to do so and the goal is to go deeper,” he says. As they say on the association website, "for the benefit of a circular economy that will not have losers".

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