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Like Ham? There’s A Festival For That In French Basque Country


Cheese and cured meat go together like peanut butter and jelly (if PB&J was influenced by terroir, that is). If you’re a big fan of cured meats (that happen to pair wonderfully withBasque sheep milk cheeses), the Basque region should be at the top of your must-travel list. Specifically, the town of Bayonne, which has held a ham festival every Easter weekend since the Middle Ages.

Three distinct elements — pigs bred for marbled and meaty back quarters, a rich diet of grains and nuts and a dry constant breeze called the foehn that blows down from the mountains — ensure a complex, fruity, silky Bayonne ham.

The air at the fair is thick with the scent of cured meat. Local farmers present their pride and joy – in this case, enormous hams – to be judged.

Photo by Gaizka Iroz/AFP/Getty Images

Becca Haley-Park

Written by

Rebecca Haley-Park is an assistant editor for culture: the word on cheese, and is responsible for all the delicious content on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. When not writing for the magazine you can find her creating cocktail recipes and pairing them with cheese.

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