We’ve spoken a lot about how Basque cuisine has evolved outside our country, especially in the Americas.  It is often quite different to what we at “home” are used to eating or would call our own.  We’ve even received messages from people asking how it’s possible that paella (or really, rice with stuff) has become a dish that represents Basques in parts of the New World.

It’s not hard to understand, as we’ve often commented, how Basques who’ve gone out into the world had to adapt to the reality of the new environment they’d settled in, one which was usually quite different to the one they’d left behind.  They have therefore created variations on Basque cuisine which are as varied as they are Basque, just like the differences one finds between the mountains of Soule and the coasts of Biscay, for example.

We reflected on this when we found this article by McKenzie Swisshelm (traducción automática) about the cuisine of Bakersfield, California, published on Yelp, the California website that collects users’ reviews of local business to help others know what to expect.  They’ve accumulated over 100 million reviews.

In this article, the author takes a tour of five restaurants that preserve the traditional Basque cuisine of the US, in that town at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, runnning through eastern California and straddling the Nevada border.

As she explains in her article:

“Bakersfield’s Basque restaurants, each with its unique offerings and ambiance, collectively form a tapestry of Basque culinary heritage. Whether you’re drawn to Wool Growers’ hearty feasts, Pyrenees Cafe’s diverse menu, or Benjis’ sumptuous soufflés, you’ll find an array of flavors that capture the essence of the Basque Country.”

Mapa de the Intermountain West
Map of the Intermountain West

We would be amiss if we didn’t recall an old article on our website, from all the way back in 2015, when H. D. Miller, who at that time was the Director of the History, Politicis, and Philosophy Department at the University of Lipscomb in Nashville, Tennessee.  His article was titled “Basque-American: the Authentic Cuisine of the Intermountain West.”  At the time, we thought the article was “glorious.”  We still do.

For those of us who are not specialists in the geography of the US, the Intermountain West is a geographical region situated between the Rocky Mountains on the east and the coast ranges, including the Sierra Nevada, on the west.  It includes part or all of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, western Montana, northern Arizona, western Colorado, most of New Mexico, and a bit of Texas west of the Pecos.

This is, of course, the area where the Basque community has its greatest presence, as well as in California.

We will take the author’s advice, and when we visit Bakersfield, we “explore the extraordinary by indulging in the rich Basque flavors that make this city a hidden culinary treasure.”  Without a doubt.

Yelp – 14/11/2023 – USA

Exploring Bakersfield Basque: a culinary journey

Nestled in the heart of California’s Central Valley, Bakersfield boasts not only a rich agricultural heritage, but also a thriving culinary scene flavored with the influences of its Basque community. Join us on a delectable journey to explore the best Basque eateries in Bakersfield.

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Last Updated on Feb 12, 2024 by About Basque Country

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