On the Road

On the Road with Bryan Roof: Boise’s Basque Culture

Bryan visits Boise’s famed Basque block to learn about the culture—and how to make some of the most popular Basque dishes. 

Published Nov. 13, 2023.

The Basque country is an area that spans the border of the nations we call Spain and France; it has a rich history and a centuries-old language and culture. 

But there’s also a large Basque population in Boise, Idaho. Basques came to the American West in the late 1800s to work in the sheep industry; many settled in Boise, making it a hub of Basque tradition. 

In this episode of On the Road, Bryan visits Boise’s Basque block and learns how to make creamy, deep-fried croquetas and the largest paella you’ve ever seen. He tries his hand (literally) at pelota, a handball-like game that Basques love. 

Then Bryan is invited into the kitchen at Ansots, a popular eatery where owner Dan Ansotegui shares the art of making chorizo according to a family recipe that goes back to his grandmother. 

The Basque block holds many charms, not the least of which is the preservation of Basque culture half a world away from the homeland; for Basques in Boise, it's where past meets present. And, as Ansotegui’s daughter, pastry chef Ellie Ansotegui says, it's a place where “You are never alone. You always have family around the corner.”

Click below to watch the video. 

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