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Salt Lake City, Boise, Chino... There are still a few places in the States where you can eat the real Basque odolkia


'Odolkia', 'mortzila', 'tripota' are different Basque words for different types of blood sausage. The Boise 'mortzila dinner' is the biggest in the States (photo
'Odolkia', 'mortzila', 'tripota' are different Basque words for different types of blood sausage. The Boise 'mortzila dinner' is the biggest in the States (photo


From March, in Salt Lake (see the previous article), to November in Boise. Odolkia, mortzila, tripota are different Basque words and types of blood sausages. There are still a few Basque clubs in Utah, Idaho, Nevada and California where Basques gather to make and eat this old country style delicatessen. This is an article about the mortzila festival hold last November in Boise. Whether you are Basque or not, you know what weekend it is the minute you park your car and step into the air in Boise, as the smell of onions and leeks take over downtown. Hot homemade mortzillas cooking in the basement of Boise’s Basque Center. For decades, the unique experience and tradition has taken place, preparing for the hundreds who gather to eat them.
It’s a week long effort preparing for the dinner and bizarre that took place on the first Saturday of November. A record breaking amount of the blood sausages were prepared, more than 3,300.

Efforts started Tuesday October 30th at the home of Benedicto and Tomasa Goitiandia. The couple has opened their home to the dozen or more volunteers that helped prepare the onions and leeks. Then two days later, more volunteers gathered at the Basque Center to prepare the sausages.

[This table of friends, many from various parts of Euskadi, enjoy each others company after feasting on fish, chicken, and mortzillas. (photo]

[These kids joined many others who were trying to win prizes during the night's bingo game. All money raised from bingo goes to the Basque Charities foundation, that helps various people in the community during hard financial times (photo Annie Gavica)]

Mortzilla making is one of the most unique experiences and traditions that have been taking place in Boise. While many of the mortzilla makers have been participating in the practice for years, younger generations are encouraged to also learn the deep rooted tradition.

[Delfina Krakau, Ysabel Bilbao, Izar Iribarren-Gorrindo, Annie Gavica of Boise, and Isabel Iribarren of Gardnerville, Nevada originally of Navarre enjoy drinks after dinner (photo Carlos Cortez) ]

[Fish and Chicken accompany mortzillas at this annual dinner. The mortzillas are homemade, prepared by local Basques (photo]

[The bar is a popular place for many people to gather and socialize after dinner. Patty Dennis, 1st generation Basque. She was formally Patty Asumendi, her parents are from Lekeitio on the left, and Carolyn Lejarcegui, married to Jose Lejarcegui of Muxika, Bizkaia sit together and watch the crowd (photo]

Along with mortzilla's guests enjoyed a full course meal of chicken and fish, and then it was on to the bingo. Players of all generations fill the tables in the dance hall hoping to win a pound of chorizos or a bottle of wine. It’s a fun way to enjoy each others company while raising money for Boise Euzkaldunak’s Basque Charities.

After the party is over there is always more mortzilla to go around and they are always available for sale.

Related links

2008 Basque Blood Sausage Festival in Utah (in Basque)
Published by on 03-07-2008

Images of the blood sausage making in Utah, 2006 (in Spanish)
Published by on 04-15-2006

Odolki Jatea in San Francisco, California (in Spanish)
Published by on 02-09-2006

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