For those who’ve been following this blog since the far-off days of antiquity (February 2013), the family name Ainciart-Bergara might ring a bell. This family of artisans has been making makilas (or makhilas) for over two centuries, since 1780, in Larresoro, a Northern Basque town famous for its canned Expeleta peppers…and for its makilas.
Back then, we brought you an entry on an article about them broadcast on French TV station TF1.
This entry has always been one we’ve included among our favorites here on the blog, which has meant that on occasion, we bring it back and post it on our social media. The reason why is because it brings together Basque artisanal tradition, a family heritage of love for our culture, an element as significant for the Basques as the makila, and a history that takes place north of the Pyrenees, which we’ve always had a soft spot for.
And today, the family is back on the blog. It could have been for the recognition they have received from UNESCO, or for the Michelin star their shop received, for example.
But on this occasion, it’s thanks to a report we learned about thanks to EuskalKazeta (which we’ve often referenced on the blog), which tells how this family was selected as a finalist for a very special award.
The makhila maker Makhila Ainciart-Bergara from the village of Laressore in Lapurdi is one of five finalists in a world competition for family businesses. Seven generations of the Ainciart-Bergara family have been making the Basque walking stick. https://t.co/xRDMrNJI9W
— EuskalKazeta (@EuskalKazeta) March 26, 2021
This would be the PFV Prize – ‘Family is Sustainability’. This award is given by the Primum Familiae Vini association, made up of twelve European families making wine in some of the largest wine-producing regions on the continent. This annual award, valued at €100,000, seeks to reward a family company in any area of business that can present a new development initiative or project that shows excellence in sustainability, innovation, craftsmanship, and the successful transmission of responsibility and commitment from one generation to the next.
And, one of the five finalists for this year’s prize was the Ainciart-Bergara family shop, which has shared the finalists’ roster with a Japanese family company that has been producing china for 26 generations; the oldest luthier workshop in Europe, making string musical instruments; the only luxury hotel in London that is still in the hands of the founding family; and an Italian company that has specialized in gold bread for 15 generations, renowned in particular for having worked with Michelangelo at the end of the 16th century.
The prize was awarded to the oldest luthier workshop in Europe, based in Belgium.
But not having been chosen the winner takes away none of the importance of being a small artisanal Basque workshop in the Pyrenean foothills that was still considered one of the finalists.
It’s a point of pride to know that our culture, our traditions, have deep, strong roots and long branches: long, full, and beautiful enough to call the attention of such unique and important awards as these.
We’ll leave you with the award’s website, the article from Le Figaro, and the Ainciart-Bergara family website.
THE PFV PRIZE – 2021 – Europe
THE PFV PRIZE. Family is Sustainability
The Primum Familiae Vini, an association of twelve European families who are producers in the continent’s greatest wine regions, have announced the launch of The PFV Prize, an annual award of €100,000 to a family company in any area of enterprise that can present a new initiative or development project that demonstrates excellence in sustainability, innovation, craftsmanship and the successful transmission of responsibility and
commitment from one generation to the next.
Le Figaro – 17/3/2021 – Europe
Un fabricant de makhila basque parmi les finalistes du concours mondial des entreprises familiales
Quel est le point commun entre Charlie Chaplin, le pape Jean-Paul II et l’ensemble des présidents de la Ve République ? Tous ont possédé un makhila basque fabriqué par l’entreprise familiale Makhila Ainciart Bergara, située dans le village de Laressore, dans les Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Le savoir-faire de la famille Bergara autour de ce bâton de marche, symbolique de la région, permet à cette petite société basque de figurer parmi les 5 finalistes au concours mondial des meilleures entreprises familiales.
Makhilas Ainciart-Bergara WEB