More Pays Basque – A Traditional Liqueur

Prunelle (wild plum) trees.


What trip would be complete without tasting the local brews?  We met Jean-Marie at the daily market, a vendor who introduced us to Patxaran (also spelled Basaran).  As Jean-Marie tells it, Patxaran is an “ancient traditional” Basque liqueur of prunelle and anise.  Prunelle is a native species of “wild” plum.  (I say “wild” because he actually cultivates the trees on his farm in order to produce the liqueur.)  We  dropped by his farm one evening for aperatif and a tour of the prunelle orchard.  Over glasses of his home concoctions, he regaled us with tales of his three months travelling Israel and some key points about Basque political history.  The night ended with a plea for the upcoming U.S. presidential race.  Jean-Marie says, “Please.  Please give Obama more time.  We finally feel like we have a real partner.”  He didn’t quite understand the expression “preaching to the choir” but we promised to do our part.

Jean-Marie’s farm outside Bayonne.

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