Sadly the days when farmers would go from door to door delivering fresh milk from their cows are long since gone. Partners in crime, health and safety, having practically conquered most areas of the UK, are extending their hold over Europe. Yet instead of surrendering their milk to the mercy of the supermarket lords in exchange for a pittance, farmers all over the Basque Country have formed collectives in order to sell their milk a different way – through vending machines. Almost all towns have at least one machine which dispenses pasteurised cow’s milk. Just take an empty bottle with you when you go out of the house and for the price of one euro you can come back with a litre of flavoursome  creamy, whole milk.

Sadly I’m not able to make use of this facility on a regular basis because of my mild lactose intolerance. However, once in a while I like to treat myself to some proper milk when making a milk-based pudding.


Intxaursalsa, a kind of milky walnut soup, has very few ingredients so the quality of the milk really makes a difference. It’s traditionally a Christmas pudding but seeing as it’s still January and I’m still in denial that we have to wait a whole year until the festivities start again I thought I could get away with it.

Serves 6:

250ml milk

2 tablesoons caster sugar

250g walnuts

half a teaspoon of cinnamon

zest of 2 oranges

Fresh fruit to decorate

  • Simply bring the milk to the boil with 2 tablespoons of sugar. 
  • Meanwhile finely chop up the walnuts and grate the orange zest.
  • Add the walnuts to the milk with the zest and cinnamon.
  • Leave to cook for 45 minutes on a low heat stirring occasionally.
  • Use a food processor to blitz the mixture, making sure to leave some texture.
  • Enjoy hot or cold topped with fresh fruit.


Milk vending machines are such an ingenious idea. They are ensuring that local milk is still enjoyed by local people. It would be great to see something similar happening on a comparable scale in the UK.


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