Basques, Ballers, Ballard and the Bench 

Where to get schooled on Basque cuisine and show off your salsa skills

Submit your salsational resipe to the Central Bench Spring Festival.

Submit your salsational resipe to the Central Bench Spring Festival.

If you think Basque cuisine is nothing more than pintxos and tart cider, prepare to have your mind melted. Four chefs and a sommelier, all hailing from the Basque Country, will take over Boise for six days to school locals on Basque food and wine during An Introduction to Basque Cuisine.

Presented by the Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture and the Bizkaia Department of Culture, the event will kick off with a Basque txakolina wine tasting at the Basque Center on Tuesday, June 7, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. On Wednesday, June 8, and Thursday, June 9, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., there will be two, day-long professional Basque cuisine seminars at the College of Western Idaho Culinary Arts Institute.

The public can get its hands on some Basque grub with demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at CWI's Culinary Arts Institute. Wednesday's class will whip up codfish in a reduced parsley sauce and seafood salad, and Thursday's class will showcase slow-cooked chicken and roasted shoulder of lamb stuffed with cinnamon apples.

The week's crowning event--a five-course dinner at the Basque Center prepared by some of the Basque Country's premier chefs--goes down on Saturday, June 11. The meal features wine pairings and costs $75 per plate, or $50 for those age 65 and older, and starts at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails. For more information or to RSVP for any of these events, visit cenarrusa.org.

Boise's Cake Ballers is now callin' shots at its very own downtown HQ. Though the tricked-out space at 720 W. Idaho St., Ste. 40, isn't technically a storefront, it is a convenient spot to place and pick up orders. For more info, visit thecakeballers.com.

Moving from ballers to Ballard, the local cheesemakers recently announced that they're working on a cookbook with chef Jane Deal, which features recipes using the squeaky Idaho Golden Greek halloumi cheese. Ballard Family Dairy is accepting recipe suggestions from the public through Monday, Nov. 29. Visit ballardcheese.com for more information.

In other recipe news, the Central Bench Spring Festival is inviting local salsa-philes to enter their homemade creations in a competition that will take place the day of the fest, Saturday, June 11. There are four categories--local, verde, tropical and traditional--and all canned or fresh salsa must be homemade. For more information, email centralbenchna@gmail.com.

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