EVERY WEDNESDAY SINCE 1512
The market impresses, and not only because of its imposing columns… It has quite a story behind its foundations! In the Middle Ages, the first market activities were held around San Bartolomé Hermitage. Unfortunately, the terrible fire that ravaged the town in March of 1512, only left a house and a church standing aside, which made the Queen Juana I de Castilla feel a great deal of sympathy for that people from Ordizia -formerly known as Villafranca-, giving them the authority to have their own free market, exempt from royal taxes, each Wednesday of the year. The market definitely settled in the 18th century, being enormously boosted with the arrival of the train… and it remains like this until today.
If you are a foodie, you will not want to miss the amazing products of the region that the market brings every season: around fifty stands show endless varieties of vegetables and fruit among which you will find pumpkins, apples, tomatoes, onions, chards, nuts, sloes, baby broad beans, lettuce… also mushrooms. Finished products like organic jam, corn cake, bread, quince jelly, goat, goat, cow and sheep cheese. Typical Basque products like Tolosa beans, Gernika peppers, Basque cake, natural cider, txakoli wine and of course… Idiazabal cheese. But also lamb. And flowers!
The special charm of the market is getting to know the producers. Watch Jose Mari Unzin selling his tomatoes or Itziar Etxebarria with her sheep cheese, natural cider and quince jelly. You will meet Jon Etxeberria, a beekeeper who comes from Ataun with his varieties of honey: rosemary, acacia, thyme, mixed flower and heather, as well as fresh pollen and royal jelly. Some stands apart you will find María Ángeles Tellería selling excellent eggs, and José Antonio Aizpuru, from Errezil, selling apples.
Extraordinary market: Ferias Vascas and Shepherd’s Day
These are the greatest days in Ordizia Market. If you have the chance, please don’t miss the date!
The first week of September -the closest day to Virgen de Arantzazu’s day on 9th of September- takes place an extraordinary market with a fruits and vegetables competition, a bovine animals contest, products exhibitions and the main attraction: competition of sheep cheese made by shepherds, and afterwards auction, organised by the Brotherhood of Idiazabal Cheese. During this holiday you will get a hint of the Basque folklore and traditions: dantzaris, txistularis and dultzaineros will keep your eyes open while they dance, sing and play. They bring life to the streets while the cheese are being carried to the venue, Frontón Beti Alai.
Juan Mari Arzak, Pedro Subijana and many other world-famous Basque chefs save the date every year. Precisely Arzak took home the winner cheese at the auction in 1980, bidding 12,000 pesetas (72€). Now, numbers got bigger: 13,050€ were paid for half a cheese in 2014; 8,200€ in 2017…
Tasting the first cheese of the season
Artzai Eguna -Shepherd’s Day- is your chance to see the sheep herd getting up to the mountains through the Natural Parks, to stay there during summer. This day is also where the first cheese of the season is tasted. This takes place in Ordizia Market, in April. Every year, a different well known chef or relevant person to Gastronomy, cuts the cheese and presents the new Idiazabal.