Mungia Talo

Spain

Pais Vasco

Cereals and flours

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Mungia Talo

Talo is a tortilla made using flour from various native varieties of corn in the area of Mungia (Biscay), Basque Countries. For many years, particularly in the post-war period, talo and white beans had been staple foods in the diet of rural people in this region. It was the main element of every meal, from breakfast to dinner.
The local varieties of corn used to make talo produce small cobs with very small compact grains, and have short growing cycles. They are usually sown together with white beans to benefit from the ability of beans, as a leguminous vegetable, to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Associating these two crops has enabled minimal quantities of fertilizer to be required (traditionally manure provided by cattle from the same farms). Another feature of producing the corn flour for Mungia talo is roasting the cobs, which is done at low temperatures in wood-fired ovens at farms. After the cobs are roasted, the grains are removed and stone ground in watermills.
Formerly there were about a hundred of these mills, a proof of how important the activity was in the Butrón river basin of the Uribe district. Only four still operate: the Gamiz mill, run by a likeable husband and wife team, also organizes educational tours and is very interesting to visit.
The grinding process is very thorough and produces a low volume of excellent flour. The full-flavored roasted flour keeps without any problems for more than a year and is easily digested, prompting interest from celiac associations.
The flour is kneaded with warm water and salt to make talo, a thin disk about 15 centimeters in diameter which is cooked on a hot steel plate.
Talo is now mainly eaten at holidays, accompanied by chorizo sausage, bean soup, dried salted cod or, as a sweet treat, chocolate.
At village festivals talo is often prepared in a txosna, a stand containing cast-iron electric plates.

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The food habits associated with this product, which is so central to Basque gastronomic culture, are changing and leading to a poorer quality diet: eating a good talo is less common and almost all the native corn has been replaced by a hybrid variety. The Mungia Talo Presidium has been created to differentiate the authentic product and its artisan production from the various substitutes that have become common in recent years. They are based on hybrid corn, flour that is not roasted and is sold prepackaged, ready for cooking. The Presidium has brought together various people keen to help preserve the traditional talo: some producers of native corn, the millers of Gamiz and two owners of txosna who carefully observe the rules for making Mungia talo. The Presidium will also promote Mungia flour through traditional bread-making.

Production Area
Mungia, Uribe district, Biscay Province, Basque Countries
Five corn producers, two millers , two transformers and a bakery.
Presidio coordinator
Mariano Gómez Fernández
mariano.gomez@ayto.bilbao.net
The food habits associated with this product, which is so central to Basque gastronomic culture, are changing and leading to a poorer quality diet: eating a good talo is less common and almost all the native corn has been replaced by a hybrid variety. The Mungia Talo Presidium has been created to differentiate the authentic product and its artisan production from the various substitutes that have become common in recent years. They are based on hybrid corn, flour that is not roasted and is sold prepackaged, ready for cooking. The Presidium has brought together various people keen to help preserve the traditional talo: some producers of native corn, the millers of Gamiz and two owners of txosna who carefully observe the rules for making Mungia talo. The Presidium will also promote Mungia flour through traditional bread-making.

Production Area
Mungia, Uribe district, Biscay Province, Basque Countries
Five corn producers, two millers , two transformers and a bakery.
Presidio coordinator
Mariano Gómez Fernández
mariano.gomez@ayto.bilbao.net

Territory

StateSpain
RegionPais Vasco

Other info

CategoriesCereals and flours